The day after Trump’s inauguration, Don Benton reported for duty as the agency’s newly minted senior adviser to the White House. The same Don Benton who consistently earned some of the lowest environmental ratings of any Washington state lawmaker when he represented Vancouver.
In a remarkable turnaround, less than a year since his forced departure from Clark County, Benton was advising President Trump and earning nearly $180,000 a year.
“He put all his chips on Trump early, and he’s been able to run the table since then,” said Mark Stephan, a political science professor at Washington State University in Vancouver. “It speaks to his acumen, that other people didn’t take him seriously when they should have.”
But where Stephan saw a shrewd politician with a talent for landing on his feet, environmentalists saw foxes being put in charge of the henhouse.