President-Elect Donald Trump is slowly making his cabinet appointments, and as the weeks roll on, we will continue learning the names of every person who will work with him in the White House.
So far, the president-elect has made a number of key appointments, a few of which have drawn criticism and others which have received a more positive reaction. In general, outside of Trump’s senior counselor, few political outsiders have joined the cabinet, which stands in contrast with the president-elect’s promise to “drain the swamp.” Instead, several of his choices include establishment figures who worked in the George W. Bush administration.
There are still many other important positions that have not yet been filled including Secretary of State, a job which Mitt Romney is reportedly being considered for.
The following is a list of everyone who has been appointed to work with Trump in the White House thus far, assembled in the order in which they were appointed. It includes members of the cabinet and advisers to the president.
Chief of Staff: Reince Priebus
The first member of Trump’s cabinet to be announced was Reince Priebus, who will serve as White House Chief of Staff. This is the highest ranking employee in the White House, the person who essentially serves as the assistant to the president. The current Chief of Staff is Denis McDonough, and Priebus will replace him in January 2017.
Priebus is the current chair of the Republican National Committee, having served in that role since January 2011. He was instrumental in securing Donald Trump the Republican nomination, declaring after the Indiana primary in May that Trump was now the party’s presumptive nominee. Though Priebus did not say so directly, this statement was a clear signal to John Kasich that he should drop out of the race and leave Donald Trump to claim the nomination.
The White House Chief of Staff is appointed directly by the president, and he does not need to be confirmed by the Senate. There is no term limit for the Chief of Staff; some serve for just one or two years, while others serve for the president’s entire term.
Senior Counselor to the President: Steve Bannon
The next position that Trump filled is senior counselor to the president. This is essentially just another assistant to the commander-in-chief, and although the president often has several counselors, this person is the highest ranking among them. Donald Trump has tapped Steve Bannon to fill this role, and he will take office in January 2017.
This decision has sparked controversy, as Bannon is the former executive chairman of Breitbart News, a far-right website known for racist and anti-Semitic articles. Bannon was Trump’s chief executive officer during the presidential campaign.
The role of counselor to the president can remain vacant if the president does not choose to appoint one. When Barack Obama took office, for example, he decided not to appoint a senior counselor but to instead have three senior advisers: David Axelrod, Pete Rouse and Valerie Jarrett. Later, Pete Rouse alone was appointed senior counselor to the president, and after him, John Podesta took the job. When Podesta stepped down in in February 2015, no new senior counselor was appointed, and the position is currently vacant.
Stephen "Steve" Bannon has been accused of racism and white nationalism, in part because of his work for the site Breitbart. Donald Trump has named him a top adviser.Click here to read more
National Security Adviser: Michael Flynn
The third name to be announced was Michael Flynn, who will be Donald Trump’s national security adviser. Flynn, a retired United States Army lieutenant general, served as an adviser during Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, frequently introducing the Republican candidate at rallies. From 2012 to 2014, Flynn was the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, but he resigned a year ahead of schedule due to conflicts with his superiors.
Flynn has been a controversial choice due to his comments on Islam. For instance, he tweeted in February that fear of Muslims is rational, sharing an anti-Muslim YouTube video with his followers.
He also said in an August speech that Islam is a cancer, comparing it to Nazism.
“We are facing another ‘ism,’ just like we faced Nazism, and fascism, and imperialism and communism,” Flynn said, according to CNN. “This is Islamism, it is a vicious cancer inside the body of 1.7 billion people on this planet and it has to be excised.”
Ret. Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, Donald Trump's National Security Adviser, has extreme views on Muslims and Islam. Here's a look at what Flynn has said in the past.Click here to read more
Attorney General: Jeff Sessions
The next cabinet appointment to be announced after Michael Flynn was Jeff Sessions, who will be Donald Trump’s attorney general. As with Priebus, Bannon and Flynn, Sessions is someone who has been loyal to Donald Trump throughout the campaign; in fact, he appeared with Trump at a rally August 2015, during a time in the campaign when Trump was looked at as a joke by most Republicans. Sessions officially endorsed Trump in February 2016.
Sessions is a senator from Alabama who has served since 1997. Before that, he was the attorney general of Alabama for two years and an attorney for the Southern District of Alabama from 1981 to 1993. Sessions’ nomination was yet another controversial one, however, as he has a history of being accused of racism. In 1986, Sessions was nominated to serve on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama. But Sessions’ nomination was not approved after a number of racism accusations came out.
Jeff Sessions, the Alabama senator who will reportedly be Donald Trump's attorney general, has been accused of racist behavior and comments.Click here to read more
CIA Director: Mike Pompeo
Mike Pompeo, U.S. representative from Kansas, will serve as director of the Central Intelligence Agency. This was the first of Trump’s appointees who did not have a role in his presidential campaign.
Pompeo was elected in 2011 amid the wave of Tea Party candidates entering Congress. Over the past few years, Pompeo has been quite critical of Hillary Clinton, questioning her about the Benghazi terrorist attacks and accusing her of participating in a cover-up. According to The New York Times, it was Pompeo’s criticism of Hillary Clinton’s role in the Benghazi attacks that convinced Trump Pompeo was the right choice.
Pompeo is also a critic of the Iran nuclear deal, which Trump has called a disaster.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations: Nikki Haley
Nikki Haley, the governor of South Carolina, will serve as the United States’ ambassador to the United Nations. This is the first example of Trump picking someone who was quite critical of him during the presidential campaign. In fact, during her response to the State of the Union this past year, Haley clearly made reference to Donald Trump when she said, “During anxious times, it can be tempting to follow the siren call of the angriest voices.”
Haley later described Trump as “everything a governor doesn’t want in a president.” Trump responded by attacking her on Twitter.
And just last month, Haley said that she is not a fan of Donald Trump, although she did say she would be voting for him, according to The Washington Post. Haley is very popular among Republicans, but she does not have any foreign policy experience.
The South Carolina governor, who recently endorsed Marco Rubio for president, has a rich family life away from the political field. Learn more here.Click here to read more
Education Secretary: Betsy DeVos
Betsy DeVos will serve as Donald Trump’s secretary of education. DeVos is an education activist from Michigan who is a prominent proponent of school choice of voucher programs, which would encourage students to enroll in private schools using public money.
In fact, DeVos is the chairman of the Alliance for School Choice, an organization that promotes school voucher programs and which is the largest of its kind. This won’t be her first time in a political role, as she was Republican National Committeewoman for Michigan from 1992 through 1997 and chairman of the Michigan Republican Party from 1996 to 2000. She is married to Dick DeVos, a wealthy businessman and the son of Richard DeVos, who has a net worth of over $5 billion.
Jeb Bush, who is no fan of Donald Trump, praised the DeVos pick.
“I cannot think of a more effective and passionate change agent to press for a new education vision, one in which students, rather than adults and bureaucracies, become the priority in our nation’s classrooms,” Bush said in a statement, according to The Hill.
Dick DeVos is a businessman and the husband of Betsy DeVos, Donald Trump's new education secretary. Here's what you need to know about him.Click here to read more
Deputy National Security Adviser: K.T. McFarland
Next up is K.T. McFarland, who will be Donald Trump’s deputy national security adviser. McFarland served as principal deputy assistant secretary of Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger during the Ronald Reagan administration, and up until recently she was a foreign policy analyst for Fox News.
McFarland has been critical of President Obama’s foreign policy, specifically of his approach to combating ISIS, saying that Obama is a weak leader who isn’t up to the task of defeating terrorism.
“Radical Islam, whether it’s ISIS, whether it’s Al-Queda, whether it’s Boko Haram, is the existential threat of our time,” McFarland said on Fox News. “It affects all of Western civilization the same way fascism did in World War II, the same way communism did in the Cold War. What we need now are Churchill, we need FDR, we need Reagan…but we don’t have any of that in President Obama.”
White House Counsel: Don McGahn
Don McGahn, a campaign finance lawyer, will serve as White House counsel during the Trump administration.
From 1999 to 2008, McGahn was a chief counselor for the National Republican Congressional Committee. In 2004, he established a legal practice, McGahn & Associates PLLC, which represents the Freedom Partners; Freedom Partners is partially funded by the Koch Brothers.
McGahn was also commissioner of the Federal Election Commission. During his time there, he opposed regulations that would combat the influence of campaign contributions on elections, and he helped to reduce regulations on campaign spending.
Health and Human Services Secretary: Tom Price
Tom Price, Congressman from Georgia, will be Donald Trump’s secretary of Health and Human Services.
This pick represents Trump’s desire to immediately repeal and replace Obamacare, as Price has been one of the Affordable Care Act’s harshest critics ever since the law was first proposed. For years, Price has been introducing his own plan which would revolve around tax credits and on high-risk insurance pools.
Price is also for the privatization of Medicare.
Transportation Secretary: Elaine Chao
Elaine Chao, the secretary of labor under George W. Bush from 2001 to 2009, will be Donald Trump’s transportation secretary. She was the first Asian American woman to serve in a cabinet position.
Chao is married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, playing a key role in his re-election campaign of 2014.
Since leaving the Bush administration, Chao contributed to The Heritage Foundation and Fox News.
Elaine Chao, who is married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, will be the next United States transportation secretary.Click here to read more
Treasury Secretary: Steven Mnuchin
Donald Trump’s Treasury secretary will be Steven Mnuchin. Mnuchin is a 17-year veteran of Goldman Sachs, and he is worth about $40 million. He left Goldman Sachs in 2002, having since worked for OneWest. Mnuchin also founded the film studio RatPac-Dune Entertainment, which has produced movies like Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad, and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
During Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, Mnuchin served as finance chair. When the Mnuchin announcement was made, many of Trump’s own supporters expressed disappointment than someone who has worked for Goldman Sachs for two decades will have a role in his cabinet, particularly after Trump accused his political appointments of being controlled by Goldman Sachs.
Commerce Secretary: Wilbur Ross
Wilbur Ross has been nominated to be Donald Trump’s commerce secretary.
Ross is an investor and banker who is the chairman of W.L. Ross & Co and who has a net worth of approximately $2.9 billion, according to Forbes. He has become known for taking over and restructuring failed businesses.
Like Donald Trump himself, Ross is a critic of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. He also strongly supports Donald Trump’s plan to massively cut taxes for corporations.
“Trump’s plan…calls for cutting corporate taxes from 35 percent to 15 [percent],” Ross said, according to CNBC. “That’s going to help solve one of our big problems, which is our trade deficit, because it means corporations are can cut their pretax margin by 20 percent.”
Deputy Secretary of Commerce: Todd Ricketts
Also on Trump’s financial team will be Todd Ricketts, who has been named deputy secretary of commerce.
Ricketts is a wealthy businessman who is the owner of the Chicago Cubs. He is also the CEO of the Ending Spending Super PAC, which is dedicated to “educating and engaging American taxpayers about wasteful and excessive government spending,” according to its website.
During the 2016 Republican primaries, Ricketts was a supporter of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, becoming co-chair of the candidate’s fundraising drive. He later donated $5.5 million to Our Principles PAC, an anti-Donald Trump political action committee. However, Ricketts got behind Trump when he became the nominee, in September donating $1 million to a pro-Trump PAC, according to WGNTV.
Secretary of Defense: James Mattis
The Washington Post is reporting that James Mattis will be Donald Trump’s pick for defense secretary, although this decision has not been officially announced by the Trump campaign.
Mattis is a retired general of the United States Marine Corps who served for over four decades, from 1969 until 2013. Most recently, President Obama appointed Mattis to replace General David Petraeus in August 2010.
Federal law states that a defense secretary can not have served active duty in the past seven years, which would make James Mattis ineligible for the position. In order to nominate him, Congress would need to pass legislation bypassing this requirement, which they previously did in 1950 in order to appoint General George Marshall.
Mattis believes that Iran is the biggest threat to the Middle East, and he is opposed to the Iran nuclear deal as Donald Trump is. However, although Trump has promised to scrap this deal entirely, Mattis has said that he doesn’t think there is a way to do so now.
“We are just going to have to recognize that we have an imperfect arms control agreement…that what we achieved is a nuclear pause, not a nuclear halt,” Mattis said in April 2016, according to The Washington Examiner.
Not Yet Announced
The following positions have not yet been filled by the Trump administration. In brackets will be names that have been rumored.
- Secretary of State [Bob Corker, John Bolton, Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney]
- Interior Secretary [Lucas Oil, Sarah Palin, Robert Grady, Jan Brewer]
- Agriculture Secretary [Sid Miller, Sam Brownback, Dave Heineman]
- Labor Secretary [Victoria Lipnic]
- Energy Secretary [Harold Hamm, Robert Grady, Rick Perry]
- Homeland Security Secretary [David Clarke, Michael McCaul]
- Veterans Affairs Secretary [Jeff Miller]
- Environmental Protection Agency Administrator [Myron Ebell, Jeffrey Holmstead, Joe Aiello]
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