As the country watches, President-elect Donald Trump is choosing the members of the cabinet. These will be the people he works closest with as he runs the country.
While Mr. Trump hasn’t finished building his cabinet, the appointments he has made so far have inspired much speculation about the approach his administration will take. In the post, I will list the members of the cabinet that Mr. Trump has appointed so far.
James N. Mattis: Secretary Of Defense
General James Mattis is Trump’s most recent addition to his cabinet. He announced his nomination on Thursday, December 1st.
General Mattis fought in the 2004 invasion of Iraq. During the war, he led a Marine division in an attack on Baghdad. He was also in charge of the United States Central Command from 2010 to 2013.
He has been a sharp critic of President Obama’s foreign policy. Mattis and Obama disagreed on the Iran nuclear deal. Many believe this is the reason why the President fired Mattis in 2013.
Steven Mnuchin: Secretary Of The Treasury
Steven Mnuchin is the CEO of Dune Capital Management, a well-known hedge fund. Previously, he was a partner at Goldman Sachs for 17 years. Mnuchin was President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign finance manager.
As Secretary of the Treasury, Mnuchin will be in charge of government borrowing, rewriting the tax code, and running and Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The Treasury department is also responsible for imposing or lifting financial sanctions against foreign adversaries.
Steven Mnuchin also has deep ties to Hollywood. He has helped fund several blockbusters such as “Avatar,” “The Devil Wears Prada,” and the “X-Men franchise.”
Elaine Chao: Secretary Of Transportation
Elaine Chao was President George W. Bush’s Labor secretary. She is also married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a longtime member of the GOP establishment.
Before serving under President George W. Bush, Chao served as deputy secretary at the Department of Transportation under George H.W. Bush. It’s expected that her experience will help her oversee President-elect Trump’s plan to rebuild the country’s infrastructure.
Tom Price: Secretary Of Health And Human Services
Tom Price is a six-term Republican congressman from Georgia. He is also an orthopedic surgeon. As Secretary of Health and Human Services, Price will be responsible for approving new drugs, regulating the food supply, and running Medicare and Medicaid.
Price has been a very vocal critic of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. He has said that the law interferes with the ability of doctors and patients to make their own medical decisions.
If confirmed, one of his top priorities will be to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. When he was in congress, Price wrote a comprehensive Republican alternative to the law.
Wilbur Ross: Secretary Of Commerce
Wilbur Ross is a wealthy investor who echoes many of Trump’s statements against free trade. He has even supported the idea of imposing tariffs on Chinese goods.
As Secretary Of Commerce, Ross will be responsible for the Census, the Bureau of Economic Analysis, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Betsy DeVoss: Secretary of Education
Betsy DeVos is one of Trump’s more controversial cabinet picks. She’s a prominent education activist. One of the reasons for the controversy is because she firmly supports school choice. Another reason is because she has little political experience.
One of Mr. Trump’s goals is to shrink the size of the Department of Education. He wants to shift more responsibilities to state and local governments.
Nikki Haley: UN Ambassador
Nikki Haley was one of the President-elect’s harshest critics during the campaign. She is also the governor of South Carolina.
Next to the Secretary of State, the ambassador to the United Nations is the most prominent face of the United States to the rest of the world. As ambassador she will represent the United States’ interests at the Security Council.
Ben Carson: Secretary Of House And Urban Development
Ben Carson is one of the most respected neurosurgeons in the country. After dropping out of the Republican Presidential primaries, he became one of Donald Trump’s most well-known campaign surrogates.
As the Secretary of House and Urban Development, he will oversee fair-housing laws, development of affordable housing, and access to mortgage insurance.
However, it’s not yet clear whether or not Ben Carson wants the job. He has previously stated that he no longer had any interest in a government position. Then, he stated that he would let his decision be known after the Thanksgiving holiday, but that announcement is still forthcoming.
Mike Pompeo: CIA Director
Mike Pompeo is a Representative of Kansas as well as a former army officer. He is also a member of the House Intelligence Committee. During the investigation into the 2012 attack on the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, Pompeo was highly critical of Hillary Clinton’s handling of the situation.
One of the issues that Pompeo will face when he takes over is whether or not to resume using enhanced interrogation techniques on terrorists. It’s a practice that many have criticized.
Jeff Sessions: Attorney General
Senator Jeff Sessions is Mr. Trump’s pick for top law enforcement position. Sessions is known for his harsh stance on illegal immigration and other crimes.
Jeff Sessions’ nomination does come with a bit of controversy due to accusations of racism in 1981. These accusations are based on hearsay, but it has still caused quite a stir in the media.
As the United States’ top law enforcement official, Senator Sessions will be in charge of implementing Trump’s “law and order” platform.
Michael Flynn: National Security Advisor
Mike Flynn has been selected by Mr. Trump to serve as National Security Advisor. He’s a retired Army lieutenant general and the former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency.
He has been very vocal about the threat of Islamic terrorism. He was one of Mr. Trump’s biggest supporters during the campaign.
The National Security Advisor position is not an actual part of the cabinet. However, the people in this position serve as a gatekeeper for policy proposals given by the state department, the Pentagon, and other agencies. This position will be critical because of Mr. Trump’s lack of political experience.
Reince Priebus: Chief Of Staff
On November 13th, Mr. Trump announced that Reince Priebus, the Chairman of the Republican National Committee would serve as his Chief of Staff. As the Chief of Staff, Priebus will be in charge of managing the West Wing’s personnel. He will also be responsible for managing the President’s agenda.
This role is important because Mr. Trump has no political experience and very little connections in the rest of government. Priebus is someone who can help bridge the gap between the President-elect’s administration and the rest of the government.
Stephen Bannon: Chief Strategist
On November 13th, Stephen Bannon was announced as Mr. Trump’s Chief Strategist. Bannon was a former Mergers & Acquisitions attorney at Goldman Sachs. Later, Bannon took over Breitbart Media.
He is by far the most controversial appointment that Mr. Trump has made to date. The controversy stems from Bannon’s relationship with the alt-right, a white nationalist movement. Bannon has transformed Breitbart news into a “bastion for the alt right.”
It’s not yet clear if Bannon holds the racist views of the alt-right, or if he’s merely pandering to them, but his willingness to flirt with this white nationalist movement has many concerned. Trump has stated that Priebus and Bannon will be “working as equal partners” in his administration.
These are the appointments that President-elect Trump has made so far. This post will be updated as more cabinet members are announced.