President-elect Donald Trump’s candidacy broke long-standing conventions and his incoming Cabinet embodies a sharp and much needed turn from the outgoing Obama administration. Among Trump’s first big decisions is to choose members of his Cabinet. Trumps lineup includes this powerful group of advisers to head up the 15 executive departments. Each of these leaders must be confirmed by the incoming Senate.
The Senate confirmation process can begin when the newly elected 115th Congress convenes on Jan. 3, 2017 — two weeks before Trump’s inauguration. The Senate can begin holding hearings to confirm Trump’s eventual nominees during this period.
Trump, a Republican who pledged major changes after eight years of a Democratic White House, has assembled nominees for a Cabinet that includes many business executives who have never served in government, and military leaders are in line to oversee defense and homeland security. In one case, Trump has named someone who once called for dismantling the agency he’d lead.
A change of political parties at the White House almost always brings policy adjustments. But Trump’s Cabinet expects to carry the outsider flair of his campaign, a role reversal compared with more conventional teams under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama that were heavy on former lawmakers, governors and veterans of past administrations.
A look at the expected shift in the federal government:
DEPARTMENT OF STATE – Rex Tillerson
Trump’s decision to nominate Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson as secretary of state means the department could be run by a lifelong oil executive with deep ties to Russia and no government experience. Outgoing Secretary of State John Kerry, a former senator who was chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, spent much of his tenure seeking agreements to fight climate change, restrain Iran’s nuclear program and pressure foreign adversaries through financial penalties. But if Tillerson wins Senate confirmation, he would have a big say over whether the Trump administration withdraws from the Paris climate treaty and the Iran nuclear pact, along with the future of U.S. relations with Russia.
DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE – Gen. James Mattis
A key figure in the Iraq war, Gen. James Mattis led troops and ultimately oversaw US Central Command. In Gen. James Mattis, Trump has a candidate who was held in high regard throughout the ranks of the Marine Corps during his 44 years of service. A seasoned combat commander, he led a task force into southern Afghanistan in 2001 and a Marine division at the time of the Iraq invasion in 2003. The retired four-star general, who was known as “Mad Dog,” was lauded for his leadership of Marines in the 2004 Battle of Falluja in Iraq — one of the bloodiest of the war. But he attracted controversy in 2005 when he said “it’s fun to shoot some people” while addressing service members in San Diego. He ultimately rose to oversee US Central Command. Mattis would require a waiver from Congress to be eligible for the position — service members must usually wait seven years before being eligible. With Republicans in control on Capitol Hill and the general praise for the general’s career, a waiver would likely be a formality to obtain.
DEPARTMENT OF TREASURY – Steven Mnuchin
Steven Mnuchin, who worked at Goldman Sachs for 17 years, joined the Trump campaign as finance chairman in May. These days Mnuchin is a Hollywood producer, putting out films including this past summer’s “Suicide Squad,” as well as “American Sniper” and “The Lego Movie.” His latest film, due in theaters this month, is called “Rules Don’t Apply.” Mnuchin has contributed to both Republican and Democratic candidates, including Hillary Clinton’s Senate campaigns and 2008 presidential run. He gave to Barack Obama’s Senate and presidential campaigns and to Charles Schumer, the new Democratic leader in the Senate. Mnuchin also worked with George Soros, the billionaire financier who has bankrolled liberal candidates and causes — and who was depicted as a villain in Trump’s last campaign ad. In 2009, during the real estate collapse, Mnuchin led a group that bought failed subprime lender IndyMac for pennies on the dollar. Mnuchin has promised “the most significant middle-income tax cut” since President Ronald Reagan.
DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY – Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry
President-elect Donald J. Trump has named former Texas Governor Rick Perry to lead the Energy Department, an agency far more devoted to national security and basic science than to the extraction of fossil fuels that is Mr. Perry’s expertise. Perry presided over his state’s vast oil and gas industries and leading wind energy sector. He is currently on the boards of two petroleum companies seeking approval for the Dakota Access Pipeline project. Texas is rich in energy resources, and Mr. Perry is an enthusiastic supporter of extracting them. Mr. Perry, 66, would bring a different set of credentials. He is the longest-serving governor of Texas — in office from 2000 to 2015 — and before that was the Texas agriculture commissioner. He holds a bachelor’s degree in animal science from Texas A&M University.
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE – Sen. Jeff Sessions
Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, Trump’s pick for attorney general, has supported tough immigration enforcement policies and said the Justice Department’s civil rights division should not be used as “a sword to assert inappropriate claims that have the effect of promoting political agendas.” Before he entered the Senate, his nomination to become a federal judge was scuttled in 1986 amid accusations that he made racially charged remarks as a U.S. attorney. He would succeed Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who has dealt with a spate of police-involved shootings and pushed a lawsuit against North Carolina over a bathroom bill that officials said discriminated against transgender individuals.
DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY – Gen. John F. Kelly
Trump has chosen retired Marine Gen. John F. Kelly to run the Department of Homeland Security, turning to a blunt-spoken border-security hawk who clashed with the Obama administration over women in combat and plans to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, according to people familiar with the decision.
Kelly, 66, is a widely respected military officer who served for more than 40 years, and he is not expected to face difficulty winning Senate confirmation. The former head of U.S. Southern Command, retired Gen. John Kelly was previously responsible for managing security threats posed by criminal drug networks based in south and central America. Trump’s team was drawn to him because of his Southwest border expertise, people familiar with the transition said. Like the president-elect, Kelly has sounded the alarm about drugs, terrorism and other cross-border threats that he sees as emanating from Mexico and Central and South America.
DEPARTMENT OF LABOR – Andy Puzder
Outgoing Labor Secretary Tom Perez was an outspoken advocate for raising the federal minimum wage and helped push a federal rule to make more workers eligible for overtime pay. Trump’s choice to run the department is fast-food executive Andy Puzder, the CEO of CKE Restaurants Holdings, the parent company of Carl’s Jr., Hardee’s and other chains. Puzder has said that large increases in the minimum wage would lead to job losses, and he wrote in a May 2016 op-ed that the overtime rule would be “another barrier to the middle class rather than a springboard” for workers. Fast-food workers led the “Fight for $15” campaign during Obama’s second term.
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION – Betsy DeVos
Trump’s choice for education secretary, Betsy DeVos, is an education activist and billionaire from Michigan who has championed vouchers and charter schools, which detractors say hurt public education. DeVos confirmed via Twitter that she opposes Common Core. “Many of you are asking about Common Core. To clarify, I am not a supporter – period,” DeVos tweeted. DeVos founded and serves as chairman of the American Federation of Children and its associated political arm, a platform she has used to support candidates who endorse vouchers and charter schools.
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION – Elaine L. Chao
Mr. Trump has named Elaine L. Chao as his choice to be the next secretary of transportation. She is married to Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader and served 8 years as secretary of labor under President George W. Bush. She was also a frequent commentator on Fox News. Her government service also includes serving as Deputy Secretary at the U.S. Department of Transportation, Chairman of the Federal Maritime Commission, Deputy Maritime Administrator in the U.S. Department of Transportation and White House Fellow. She has also worked in the private sector as Vice President of Syndications at BankAmerica Capital Markets Group and a banker with Citicorp. Prior to her nomination as Secretary, she was a Distinguished Fellow at The Heritage Foundation.
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE – Wilbur Ross
Wilbur Ross fits the mold of the type of administration officials he pledged to appoint during the campaign: businessmen with long resumes and billions in their bank accounts, sitting at the ready to negotiate for U.S. Interests around the world. Ross, 78, had been a vocal Trump supporter before the election, citing the need for a “more radical, new approach to government” that would help middle class and lower middle class Americans.
Ross, chairman of WL Ross & Co., has made a career of resurrecting dying companies. Fittingly, some of Ross’s biggest hits have been in the same demoralized industries that Trump wants to revive: steel and coal. For instance, Ross’s firm scored huge returns last decade by cobbling together bankrupt steel makers including Bethlehem Steel to form International Steel Group. Ross then flipped the conglomerate in a $4.5 billion sale two years later.
“Wilbur Ross is a champion of American manufacturing and knows how to help companies succeed,” Trump said in a statement announcing his choice.
“Wilbur knows that cutting taxes for working families, reducing burdensome government regulations and unleashing America’s energy resources will strengthen our economy at a time when our country needs to see significant growth.”
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES – Rep. Tom Price
The pick at the Department of Health and Human Services is Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., an orthopedic surgeon who has been a leading critic of Obama’s health care overhaul. As HHS secretary, Price would be the nation’s top health official and the incoming administration’s point person for dismantling the sprawling 2010 health-care law, which Trump promised during his campaign to start dismantling on his first day in the Oval Office. The 62-year-old lawmaker, who represents a wealthy suburban Atlanta district, has played a leading role in Republican opposition to the law and has helped draft several comprehensive bills to replace it. The GOP-led House has voted five dozen times to eliminate all or part of the ACA but has never had a chance to accomplish its goal as long as President Obama has been in the White House.
DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT – Ben Carson
Ben Carson, who took Donald J. Trump on a tour of blighted neighborhoods in Detroit during the presidential campaign, including his boyhood home, has been chosen by Mr. Trump to oversee one of the government’s main efforts to lift American cities as secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Mr. Carson, a retired neurosurgeon, was an early endorser of Mr. Trump after ending his own presidential bid.
DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR – Ryan Zinke
President-elect Donald Trump has tapped Republican Rep. Ryan Zinke, who has represented Montana’s at-large congressional seat for one term, to serve as secretary of the Department of the Interior, according to an individual with firsthand knowledge of the decision.
Zinke, who studied geology as an undergraduate at the University of Oregon and served as a Navy SEAL from 1986 to 2008 before entering politics, campaigned for his House seat on a platform of achieving North American energy independence. He sits on the House Natural Resources Committee as well as the Armed Services Committee.
A lifelong hunter and fisherman, the 55-year-old Zinke has defended public access to federal lands even though he frequently votes against environmentalists on issues ranging from coal extraction to oil and gas drilling. This summer, he quit his post as a member of the GOP platform-writing committee after the group included language that would have transferred federal land ownership to the states.
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY – Scott Pruitt
At the Environmental Protection Agency, Trump has selected Oklahoma’s attorney general, Scott Pruitt. He has questioned the science of global warming and sued the EPA over plans to limit carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants and regulations involving the Clean Water Act. Pruitt has fought against the EPA numerous times. Pruitt has filed several lawsuits against onerous EPA regulations that overstep the agency’s authority. Pruitt also challenged the EPA’s ethanol mandate, but the Supreme Court wouldn’t hear the case. Pruitt started the first-ever Federalism Unit in the Oklahoma attorney general’s office. The unit focuses on restoring state sovereignty from the encroachment of the federal government – suggesting that Pruitt is committed to the separation of powers enshrined in the Constitution. Pruitt also supported the Hobby Lobby case that ruled in favor of religious freedom.
OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET – Mick Mulvaney
Mick Mulvaney has been chosen to head up the Office of Management and Budget. He has been an advocate for spending cuts, often taking on his own party to push for more aggressive curbs to government spending. He has broken with members of his own party at times, particularly around defense spending issues. Mulvaney has been a fierce critic of the use of a separate war funding stream known as overseas contingency operations, a budgetary maneuver used to skirt spending caps to fund military and anti-terror operations abroad. Mulvaney has allied himself with Democrats at times to try to force defense spending cuts. Mulvaney is also an advocate of a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution. Mulvaney has spent the past few years learning Spanish and has been one of just a handful of GOP lawmakers able to appear on Spanish-language television programs to explain and defend Republican policies.
SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION – Linda McMahon
President-elect Donald Trump named former professional wrestling executive Linda McMahon as his pick to lead the Small Business Administration.
“My America First agenda is going to bring back our jobs and roll back the burdensome regulations that are hurting our middle-class workers and small businesses. To help push our agenda forward, I am pleased to nominate Linda McMahon as the head of the Small Business Administration,” Trump said in a statement announcing the pick. “Linda has a tremendous background and is widely recognized as one of the country’s top female executives advising businesses around the globe.”
CIA DIRECTOR –Mike Pompeo
Donald Trump has selected Kansas Republican Rep. Mike Pompeo to lead the CIA. Pompeo is a West Point and Harvard Law School graduate and a vocal member of the House Select Committee on intelligence. He’s been a fierce critic of the Obama administration’s policies on Iran and Libya.
In a 2013 speech on the House floor, Pompeo said Muslim leaders who fail to denounce acts of terrorism done in the name of Islam are “potentially complicit” in the attacks. The Council on American-Islamic Relations called on Pompeo to revise his remarks, calling them “false and irresponsible”
Pompeo has been critical of President Obama, whom he repeatedly alleged was indecisive and not appropriately respectful of military leaders such as General McChrystal, who was forced to submit his resignation for having made negative comments about the president to Rolling Stone magazine. He accused the president of “unforgivably failing to provide the total commitment of our national means to our servicemen in the field.
Pompeo, a three-term congressman from Wichita, said he’s “honored to have been given this opportunity to serve and to work alongside President-elect Donald J. Trump to keep America safe.”
“I also look forward to working with America’s intelligence warriors, who do so much to protect Americans each and every day,” Pompeo said.
UN AMBASSADOR – Nikki Haley
President-elect Donald Trump announced his decision to nominate South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley to be his ambassador to the United Nations.
Haley, 44, a rising star in the Republican Party and a daughter of Indian immigrants, has led South Carolina since 2011. She is Trump’s first female appointee to a Cabinet-level post, and she would be taking on a position that requires intense diplomatic and navigational skills in an often-frustrating international bureaucracy. As a Republican, Haley’s platform was anti-tax and fiscally conservative. She voted for bills that restrict abortion and those that protect fetuses. As the child of legal immigrants, Haley has expressed support for greater enforcement of immigration laws.
Lone Star Liberty will update this list as selections are made for the remaining departments.