Donald Trump is assembling the wealthiest cabinet in recent memory, filling it with people who have estimated net worths that make them billionaires and multi-millionaires. Trump finally filled every role in his cabinet after picking former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue for Agriculture Secretary, two days before the inauguration.
Rex Tillerson, the former CEO of ExxonMobil who had no experience in government before Trump nominated him to be Secretary of State, is far from being the richest member of the cabinet. Betsy DeVos and Wilbur Ross are all estimated to be worth over $1 billion each.
Here’s a look at the estimated net worth of the members of the Trump cabinet. This post will be updated when more cabinet picks are announced.
Secretary of Education Besty DeVos: $5.2 Billion
Betsy DeVos is Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Education. She is a member of Richard DeVos’ family, which Forbes estimates is worth $5.2 billion. DeVos is married to Dick DeVos, Richard DeVos’ son. Richard DeVos made his fortune as the founder of Amway.
Before being nominated as Secretary of Education, DeVos was the chair of the Michigan Republican Party from 2003 to 2005. Her brother is Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater Worldwide, now known as Academi.
As the Washington Post notes, DeVos is an advocate for private school voucher programs and is a major philanthropist in the Christian Reformed community.
Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin: $40 Million
Steven Mnuchin was Trump’s most controversial pick for the cabinet before Rex Tillerson. Mnuchin was nominated to be Treasury Secretary and, like Tillerson, has no experience in government. According to the New York Daily News, his estimated net worth is $40 million.
Mnuchin made his wealth as an investment banker at Goldman Sachs for 17 years before working for hedge funds. In 2009, he led a group that bought IndyMac, a California-based house lender that he renamed OneWest. Bloomberg reported in 2012 that Mnuchin was accused of being overly aggressive with foreclosures on mortgage lenders during his tenure as OneWest CEO.
He also has an interest in film production, having founded RatPac-Dune Entertainment with Brett Ratner and James Packer. Some of the recent films he’s helped produce include American Sniper, Mad Max: Fury Road and Life of Pi. He served as Trump’s national finance chairman during the presidential campaign.
Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross: $2.9 Billion
Wilbur Ross, who earned the nickname “King of Bankruptcy” by leading Rothschild Inc.’s bankruptcy-restructuring advisory practice, was nominated to be Secretary of Commerce. Forbes estimates that he has a net worth of $2.5 billion. That puts him at #232 on the Forbes 400 list.
Ross currently leads WL Ross and Co. LLC, which he founded at Rothschild in 1997.
Ross was an early supporter of Trump, endorsing him in June 2016.
“Part of the reason why I’m supporting Trump is that I think we need a more radical, new approach to government – at least in the U.S. – from what we’ve had before,” Ross told CNBC. “I think the reason why the Trump phenomenon has become so important … is because middle class and lower middle class America has not really benefited by the last 10 to 15 years of economic activity and they’re sick and tired of it and they want something different.”
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson: $150 Million
Rex Tillerson is the current CEO of ExxonMobil and was expected to retire in March. NBC News reports that Tillerson has an estimated net worth of $150 million. He made $24.3 million in 2016, according to the New York Times.
Tillerson has been at ExxonMobil since 1975 and has never held a position in government. He has built a cozy relationship with Vladimir Putin and Russia in recent years, even receiving the Order of Friendship medal.
In his tweet announcing his pick, Trump called Tillerson “one of the truly great business leaders of the world.”
Attorney General Jeff Sessions: $7.52 Million
Jeff Sessions, the longtime Alabama senator, was nominated to be attorney general. Before his career in the Senate, Sessions was Attorney General of Alabama and U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama. He also had a private practice before working in government.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Sessons’ average net worth is $7.52 million. That’s 2.6 times more than the average senator’s net worth. It’s also 5.3 times more than the average net worth of the other representatives of Alabama in Congress.
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Dr. Ben Carson: $30 Million
Although Ben Carson is a retired neurosurgeon with no government experience, Trump nominated his former rival for Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Celebrity Net Worth estimates that the Detroit native’s net worth is an estimated $30 million.
At first, Carson declined a role in the Trump Administration, but Trump chose him for a role anyway. “Ben Carson has a brilliant mind and is passionate about strengthening communities and families within those communities,” Trump said in a December 5 statement.
Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price: $13.6 Million
Price earned his M.D. from the University of Michigan Health System and was first elected to the House in 2005 after eight years in the Georgia State Senate. He has been a critic of Obamacare and proposed the Empowering Patients First Act as an alternative.
“The Empowering Patients First Act puts patients, families and doctors in charge by focusing on the principles of affordability, accessibility, quality, innovation, choices and responsiveness,” Price said of the act in a statement on his website.
Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao: At Least $22.8 Million
Elaine Chao, who served as the Secretary of Labor for all eight years of the George W. Bush Administration, is Trump’s nominee for the Secretary of Transportation. Chao is married to Kentucky Senator and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. The Washington Post reported in 2014 that McConnell’s net worth jumped from $7.8 million to $22.8 million.
The majority of McConnell’s wealth is thanks to Chao. Her father, James S.C. Chao, is the founder of the Foremost Group, a shipping and trading giant. In 2009, Politico reported that Chao and McConnell received a “personal gift” from her family that was worth between $5 million and $25 million. That “gift” followed the death of her mother in 2007.
Administrator of the Small Business Administration Linda McMahon: $500 Million
Linda McMahon is the wife of Vince McMahon, the founder of the WWE. Forbes estimates Vince McMahon’s net worth at $1.14 billion. McMahon’s net worth is estimated to be $500 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth. McMahon worked in the WWE until 2009 when she began to peruse a political career. Both of her campaigns to represent Connecticut in the U.S. Senate failed, so the only political experience she has is as a member of the Connecticut Board of Education from January 2009 to April 2010.
Trump chose McMahon to be the Administrator of the Small Business Administration, which is a cabinet-level post. She was previously considered for Secretary of Commerce before the role went to Wilbur Ross.
Secretary of Energy Rick Perry: $3 Million
Rick Perry, who was once a Trump critic, was chosen to be Secretary of Energy, The New York Times reported on December 13. It’s ironic, since the former Texas Governor said in a 2011 presidential debate that the Department of Energy was one of the three departments he would eliminate if he was president. Over 60 percent of that department’s budget is devoted to the National Nuclear Security Administration.
Celebrity Net Worth estimates Perry’s net worth at about $3 million.
In 2011, the Fort Worth Star Telegram did a report on how Perry made his millions, portions of which can be found here at The Atlantic. In the report, the Star Telegram found that Perry made millions as a real estate investor while he was in government jobs. For example, he bought 10 acres of undeveloped land in 1993 and sold that to Michael Dell for $465,000, triple the price of what he paid for, according to the Star Telegram.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke: $675,502
On December 13, Trump nominated Ryan Zinke to be Interior Secretary. He is Montana’s sole Representative in the House and was a Navy SEAL from 1986 to 2008. The 55-year-old is on the House Natural Resources Committee and Armed Services Committee. Zinke was first elected during the 2014 mid-term election.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Zinke has an average net worth of $675,502, which is 39 percent below the average net worth for a member of Congress.
Secretary of Labor Andrew Puzder: $4 Million Salary
Andrew Puzder is Trump’s choice for Secretary of Labor. According to the New York Times, a 2012 filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission shows that Puzder’s salary for 2012 was just over $4 million, although that was down from $10 million in 2012.
Puzder is best known as the CEO of CKE Restaurants, the parent company of the fast food chains Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. He’s been in the role since September 2000. He has been a harsh critic of President Barack Obama and does not not advocate for raising the minimum wage.
Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin: $170,000 Annual Salary
David Shulkin is the first member of the Obama Administration to earn a job within the Trump Administration. President Barack Obama appointed him to be the Undersecretary of Veterans Affairs, a job that includes being Chief Executive of the Veterans Health Administration.
According to a Philly.com profile on Shulkin, he is paid $170,000 a year in his current position. Before that, he spent his career in the private sector. His last job before joining the Obama Administration was President of Morristown Medical Center in New Jersey. His salary for that job was $1.3 million a year.
Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue: $6 Million
George Ervin ‘Sonny’ Perdue III was Governor of Georgia from 2003 to 2011, as the first Republican governor of the state since Reconstruction. Before becoming governor, he ran a successful grain and fertilizer business, notes the New York Times, and he returned to agribusiness after leaving office. He also made money by owning property in Houston County, Georgia.
In 2006, The Georgia Report reported that a financial disclosure statement he filed that year showed his net worth at $6.07 million.
Vice President Mike Pence: $211,510
Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen, lived a modest lifestyle compared to the other nominees before Trump was elected. His average net worth is $211,510, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
In September, The Wall Street Journal reported that the Indiana Governor’s tax returns show that his income hasn’t topped $200,000 in the past 10 years. The most recent return shows $113,026 in adjusted gross income and they reported $9,000 in taxable income.
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