President-elect Donald Trump.
Once we all get used to saying that, we must contemplate the next question: Who will be in his cabinet?
You can assume that Trump will reward loyalists. He will pick a mixture of insiders who can navigate the system as well as a few unorthodox picks. His children will be his confidantes.
“We will call on the best and brightest to leverage their tremendous talent,” Trump said in his victory speech after surprising the political establishment – again – by flipping a series of rust-belt states, winning Florida, and basically defying all expectations.
Before the election, some names of possible cabinet picks were floated to NBC News by anonymous campaign advisers.
You can also look at the Republican National Convention list of speakers for ideas. It’s a good bet many of the cabinet picks are on there. It’s also a good bet that a lot of them were singled out by Trump during his victory speech. The New York Times ran a story the day after the election that repeated some of the earlier names as possibilities. Since then, other possibilities have leaked, and Trump chose his chief of staff.
Here are the top possibilities for a Trump cabinet:
Secretary of State
Newt Gingrich or John Bolton
Why Newt? He was a fairly early and consistent Republican supporter of Trump. He’s erudite, a former professor, and experienced in government as the former House Speaker. Trump is likely to reward loyalists and punish enemies, if his campaign style is predictive.
Gingrich called Trump a “genuine phenomenon” and worked for him behind the scenes as well as publicly expressing support for the Trump message. He did criticize Trump for his comments about a judge’s Mexican heritage.
Bolton was U.S. ambassador to the UN under George W. Bush.
Runner-up: Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions.
Giuliani is a former U.S. Attorney. Another person often talked about for this post was too: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Both of them have been fervent supporters of Trump and constantly hit the campaign trail at his side. More recently, Christie disappeared from the campaign trail to deal with Bridgegate. That could make AG Christie less likely. Giuliani is a good guess, though. He’s also the former New York mayor, a nationally known name, and well-regarded for his handling of the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Trump did praise both Giuliani and Christie during his victory speech. (An alternative possibility: Rudy for Homeland Security, and Christie for AG).
Hot Air noticed the absence of Christie from the anonymous campaign advisers’ lists, but also noted that he was helping run Trump’s transition team. Christie fell from favor, though, when two of his aides were convicted for their role in the Bridgegate controversy.
Runner up: Rep. Trey Gowdy, who led the Benghazi committee.
Michael Flynn or Sen. Jeff Sessions
Lt. General Michael Flynn has been a strong supporter of Trump’s. He’s railed against Trump’s enemies on Twitter and in television appearances, and he’s written a book about Islamic terrorism. He spoke at the Republican National Convention. Flynn is an outspoken critic of President Barack Obama and “radical Islam.”
NBC said Congress would have to give Flynn a waiver because he hasn’t been out of the military for seven years. As for Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions, the conservative Alabama senator has also been listed as a possible Secretary of State or Attorney General. One theory is he would be defense secretary, and Flynn would become national security adviser.
Chief of Staff
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus has been named as Trump’s chief of staff. Some had argued that Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s former campaign manager, would then become RNC head. Priebus left the door open in interviews from the start.
Priebus is an attorney from Wisconsin who kept the RNC working to elect Trump even as other Republicans bolted. Trump even dragged Priebus on stage during his victory speech to praise how fantastic and wonderful he is (to use Trump speak).
On November 10, The New York Times and other media outlets reported that Steve Bannon was under consideration as Trump’s chief of staff. Bannon ran the far-right website, Breitbart, until being brought on board Trump’s campaign this summer.
Runners-up: Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s campaign manager, who said on Twitter that she had been offered a job in the White House. David Bossie, a conservative activist who served as Trump’s deputy campaign manager. Bossie has also worked for Citizens United, the organization that produces conservative films like Hillary: The Movie. And Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s former campaign manager. Steve Bannon, Trump’s campaign CEO who came from Breitbart, was floated as a possible chief of staff but named as a top adviser instead.
Education Secretary or Health and Human Services
He’s a doctor. He was one of the earliest supporters of Trump. Trump praised him during his victory speech in effusive terms. He brings diversity to Trump’s cabinet. This one is obvious.
The question is where he will end up. The most recent stories say Education Secretary.
Mnuchin is Trump’s finance chairman. Who is Steve Mnuchin?
Reuters says Mnuchin is Trump’s campaign finance chairman. Mnuchin is also “a former partner at Goldman Sachs Group Inc who also founded and runs the hedge fund company Dune Capital Management LP,” said Reuters.
Eisenberg is the finance chairman of the Republican National Committee.
Runner-up: Peter Thiel.
Now some unorthodox picks for fun:
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker
Walker’s known for his ferocious battles with labor, of course, but Trump might want to reward him for helping deliver Wisconsin (if begrudgingly until the end). Trump could make him Secretary of Transportation, but Walker is no fan of trains.
You need to ask why?
FBI directors serve 10-year terms but can be fired by presidents, by the way. Trump told 60 Minutes on November 13 that he wants to talk to Comey before deciding whether to keep him.
Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke
The former police homicide detective and commander rides around on a horse, wears a cowboy hat, is a darling of conservative talk radio, was at Trump’s side during the campaign, spoke during the convention, and would help diversify Trump’s cabinet. They both like to tweet too.
Runner up: U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas, who is chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security.
Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity, Kellyanne Conway, or Scott Baio
The name being floated most recently is Laura Ingraham, the pro-Trump conservative talk show host.
Conway, Trump’s campaign manager, was often his face in the news media. Hannity was one of the biggest media Trump boosters.
Scott Baio vocalized support for Trump during the campaign. Yeah, that’s a pretty ridiculous choice. But America just elected a former reality star president, so why not? (No one’s really talking about Baio. But you have to add someone in to keep things lighthearted).
Sarah Palin or Jan Brewer
Alaska. Enough said. (Plus, she was an early and vocal supporter). Brewer is the former Arizona governor.
Small Business Administration