Gail Collins, regular columnist for the New York Times, former editor of its editorial page, conducted her annual contest for the worst member of Trump’s Cabinet. Previously, the contest was won by Betsy DeVos. This year there was a new winner.

She writes:

If you run into Attorney General William Barr over the weekend, be sure to congratulate him.

The readers have spoken! Barr was the runaway winner of our vote for Worst Trump Cabinet Member. He swept the field last fall, too. What we need now is a Worst Museum where we can put Barr’s portrait looming over the door.

The Worst of Trump is clearly a topic people are pondering. We got thousands of responses to the contest. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos came in second and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo third.

They were far, far behind the leader. But give DeVos credit — it’s not easy to build up so much rancor when you’re in a relatively low-profile cabinet post. “Betsy DeVos is one I particularly love to hate because of her smug arrogance, while being the very picture of ignorant incompetence,” wrote a voter.

“What can be better than a secretary of education who doesn’t believe in public schools and appears never to have attended any schools herself?” asked another.

Maybe it’s unfair for DeVos to have to compete against terrible cabinet members with so much more power. “Can we divide it into two categories?” asked Anne Gables, who proposed giving separate awards for “least qualified (most clueless) and most dangerous.”

Makes sense, and if those were the options DeVos would sweep the Clueless Contest while Barr would win the Keeps You Awake Nights competition.

One surprise in the pack was the strong showing by postmaster general Louis DeJoy. His job isn’t officially part of the cabinet, but DeJoy got a special exemption to join the competition since he’s been trying to undercut postal efficiency right ahead of the presidential election. “Rookie of the year has to be Louis DeJoy, for the sheer chutzpah of destroying one American institution (the mail) in the cause of destroying another American institution (democracy),” wrote Martin Benjamin.

Whenever we have a vote for Worst Trump Cabinet Member a sizable contingent protest that everybody should get a trophy. (“It is just too difficult to choose the Worst of the worst.”) A Georgia reader managed to trim the list down to three before throwing in the towel. (“Like eating a potato chip; can’t have just one.”)

Shira Revzen recalled a sign she saw at the women’s march in 2017: “I’ve seen better cabinets at Ikea!”

“Each cabinet member makes a unique contribution to the swamp,” argued a reader from Iowa. “Who can say the alligator is more or less important than the mosquito or the leech or the water moccasin?”

The swampy metaphors were popular. Linda Morgan of San Francisco voted for Barr as “concertmaster of all things wicked and slimy in Trump world,” but added an apology to “all green witches, snakes and worms.”

Mike Pence came in fifth — behind Barr, DeVos, Pompeo and DeJoy. Those who did vote for the vice president pointed out that having Pence as veep made it much less satisfactory to daydream about impeachment. (“He perpetually haunts the halls of power with a creepy presence and omnipresent inadequacy.”)

And then, of course, there was his prediction that we’d have put the pandemic behind us by Memorial Day. (“It’s gotta be Mike Pence, Corona Virus Czar. …”)

A reader from Spain expressed surprise that “I’ve seen no mention of the truly vile and incompetent Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin.” And indeed, Mnuchin came in way down the line. But he had champions who thought he deserved a prime spot. One of them noted that this is a man who left Goldman Sachs with about $46 million in stock, but now “thinks $600/week is overpaid.”

Dennis in Seattle was disturbed that Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao wasn’t “getting enough credit for the wholesale theft of hundreds of millions of dollars from Americans” who couldn’t get ticket refunds when airlines canceled their flights. To be fair, Chao did express her displeasure, but apparently some people don’t think hand-wringing is enough.

And remember Ben Carson? Almost nobody did when it came to the balloting. Frank from North Carolina, in fact, wrote to ask whether the secretary of housing and urban development had joined the Witness Protection Program.

“What has he done so far in his role as HUD secretary other than purchase a $30,000 table for his conference room?” asked a Pennsylvania reader. This is a complaint that goes back to early 2018. On the other hand, that was possibly the last thing many of us heard from Carson.

But after all was said and done, Barr swept the field. “Betsy DeVos can’t destroy our public education in the brief time she has left in office, and Mike Pompeo can’t cause an international crisis just by making the State Department a ghost of its former self,” wrote a voter from Woodstock, N.Y. “But when the country’s top law officer ignores the rule of law to protect Trump from prosecution and advance the president’s political interests, it is downright scary, not to mention a threat to our democracy.”

Just a couple more Barr comments:

“He has flushed down the toilet the rule of law.”

“Not since Tom Hanks won back-to-back Oscars has someone been so deserving of a repeat win.”

“Last year I really had to ponder this choice; this year it’s not even close — go Barr! (No, really, go!)”