Romper

All Of Trump's Cabinet Picks So Far & What You Need To Know About Them

Drew Angerer/Getty Images News/Getty Images

There are now less than two months left until President-elect Donald Trump places his hand on a bible, takes his oath of office, and becomes the president of the United States on Jan. 20. On that day, his Cabinet nominees should theoretically have their official titles, awaiting approval from Congress, which will determine whether or not they'll be with the Trump administration for the next four years. But for the next few critical weeks, Trump will continue picking people to fill his cabinet  — so it is best to do your homework and start getting familiar with those confirmed nominees now, so you don't get overwhelmed later. A list of all of Trump's Cabinet picks so far reveals a lot about what direction Trump wants to take the country and offers insight on the incoming administrations inner workings (and controversies) as well.

While it may seem like there has been a lot of confirmation of who will be a part of Trump's Cabinet, Trump's Cabinet picks actually makes up a super short list — most of the other names thrown out there of late have largely been rumors. According to The Washington Post, Trump's transition team will have to fill 4,000 positions eventually, all of whom will work in the agencies that "make up the executive branch of government."

The attention right now, of course, is less on the 4,000 positions and more on the people who will head up those agencies and roles. (As stated, it's important to remember that while Trump has picked some of the 15 Cabinet department heads thus far, those heads will need confirmation from Senate in order to officially be named.) Here are all of Trump's Cabinet picks (so far) and what people need to know about them:

Secretary Of State — Rex Tillerson

NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images
Exxon Mobil chairman and CEO Rex Tillerson speaks at a discussion organized by the Economic Club of Washington on the energy innovations that have led to a new era of energy abundance for North America in Washington, DC on March 12, 2015.

Perhaps the most divisive of Trump's picks so far, Tillerson, CEO of ExxonMobile, has the auspicious honor of being tapped as secretary of state for the incoming administration — arguably one of the most powerful Cabinet positions in the lineup. Tillerson has drawn heavy criticism for his past business dealings and ties to Russia, specifically Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"Congressional Republicans face a vexing dilemma with the impending presidency of Donald J. Trump," The New York Times wrote on Wednesday, Dec. 14, shortly after the official announcement of Tillerson's pick was made public, adding,

Trump so far has expressed confidence in Tillerson's relative inexperience, saying in a media statement that "[Tillerson's] tenacity, broad experience and deep understanding of geopolitics make him an excellent choice" for the State Department. "He will promote regional stability and focus on the core national security interests of the United States," Trump said. "Rex knows how to manage a global enterprise, which is crucial to running a successful State Department, and his relationships with leaders all over the world are second to none. I can think of no one more prepared, and no one more dedicated, to serve as Secretary of State at this critical time in our history."

Secretary Of Education — Betsey DeVos

Drew Angerer/Getty Images News/Getty Images
BEDMINSTER TOWNSHIP, NJ - NOVEMBER 19: (L to R) president-elect Donald Trump and Betsy DeVos pose for a photo after their meeting at Trump International Golf Club, November 19, 2016 in Bedminster Township, New Jersey. Trump and his transition team are in the process of filling cabinet and other high level positions for the new administration. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Betsy DeVos, billionaire and Republican activist and philanthropist from Michigan, is Donald Trump's confirmed pick for Secretary of Education. Like Trump, she has little experience with politics and a lot in business — DeVos is the chair of The Windquest Group, an investment management company as well as chair of the American Federation of children, according to NPR. In the past, she served as the chairwoman of the Michigan Republican Party. According to NPR, she is "a strong supporter of school choice but has limited experience with public education."

Attorney General — Jeff Sessions

Alex Wong/Getty Images News/Getty Images
CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 19: Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) delivers a speech during the opening of the second day of the Republican National Convention on July 19, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Cleveland, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Republican National Convention kicked off on July 18. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Four term Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions is Trump's confirmed pick for Attorney General. Sessions was one of Trump's first endorsers and served as his "chief resource on policy" according to The Washington Post. According to CNN, Sessions is likely to "place a greater emphasis on more traditional law areas such as drug and immigration reinforcement." (The Post also noted that Sessions has been reportedly "dogged by accusations of racism throughout his career.") Sessions has also served as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama and as Alabama's attorney general. Sessions' supporters say he will "help change the way Washington works."

Energy Secretary — Rick Perry

KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images
Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry leaves after a meeting with US President-elect Donald Trump at Trump Tower December 12, 2016 in New York.

Perry, a relative D.C. veteran, who previously ran two failed bids for the White House of his own, in 2012 and 2016, has been tapped as Trump's pick for secretary of Energy, the department the former Texas governor famously forgot when listing agencies he would cut if elected president, during a primary debate in 2012.

"As the Governor of Texas, Rick Perry created created a business climate that produced millions of new jobs and lower energy prices in his state, and he will bring that same approach to our entire country as Secretary of Energy," Trump said in a media statement on Dec. 14. "My administration is going to make sure we take advantage of our huge natural resource deposits to make America energy independent and create vast new wealth for our nation, and Rick Perry is going to do an amazing job as the leader of that process."

Secretary Of The Interior — Ryan Zinke

KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images
US Representative at large from Montana, Ryan Zinke (L) arrives at Trump Tower on December 12, 2016 in New York.

Montana Congressman Ryan Zinke was tapped as Trump's pick for secretary of the Interior, a position that carries with it much more weight than one might think, according to Romper's Karen Fratti:

An ex-Navy Seal commander, Zinke, as Romper's Jen McGuire pointed out in a recent profile, "is a supporter of the Keystone pipleine, and recently criticized an Interior department rule that was intended to forestall accidental gas and methane release on federal lands."

Secretary Of Commerce — Wilbur Ross

Drew Angerer/Getty Images News/Getty Images
BEDMINSTER TOWNSHIP, NJ - NOVEMBER 20: (L to R) President-elect Donald Trump and investor Wilbur Ross pose for a photo following their meeting at Trump International Golf Club, November 20, 2016 in Bedminster Township, New Jersey. Trump and his transition team are in the process of filling cabinet and other high level positions for the new administration. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Like DeVos, Wilbur Ross is also a billionaire with an estimated net worth of $2.9 billion, according to The New York Times. Ross is a relative outsider to politics — he is a self-made billionaire who made his money through investments and as a distressed asset investor according to Forbes. Ross also served as Trump's economic policy advisor during Trump's campaign. According to The Times, Ross is considered to be "either a hero or villain in his career" — without much in between.

Deputy Secretary Of Commerce —  Todd Ricketts

Drew Angerer/Getty Images News/Getty Images
BEDMINSTER TOWNSHIP, NJ - NOVEMBER 19: President-elect Donald Trump shakes hands with Todd Ricketts, co-owner of the Chicago Cubs, after their meeting at Trump International Golf Club, November 19, 2016 in Bedminster Township, New Jersey. Trump and his transition team are in the process of filling cabinet and other high level positions for the new administration. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Ricketts is a businessman and co-owner of the 2016 MLB World Series winning team, the Chicago Cubs. He is the son of Joe Ricketts, the billionaire online brokerage CEO who founded and served as chairman of the firm TD Ameritrade. Ricketts previously supported Trump's rival, Scott Walker, during the 2016 primaries, and continued to oppose Trump even after Walker suspended his campaign, donating $5.5 million to an anti-Trump super PAC. (Ricketts and his family later donated $1 million to Trump's general election bid.) Regardless, in an email to the press on Wednesday, Trump praised Ricketts, saying,

U.N. Ambassador — Nikki Haley

Mark Wilson/Getty Images News/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 18: Gov. Nikki Haley, (R-SC), speaks at the Federalist Society, 2016 National Lawyers Convention at the Mayflower Hotel, on November 18, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

A former Trump critic, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley is Trump's pick to be his ambassador to the United Nations. According to Politico, Haley is a "rising star" in politics, but would be "taking on a position that requires intense diplomatic and navigational skills in an often frustrating international bureaucracy" — she has never served in the federal government. Trump has called her "a proven deal maker" and has "a track record of bringing people together."

CIA Director — Mike Pompeo

Win McNamee/Getty Images News/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 01: U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) holds a press conference at the U.S. Capitol March 1, 2012 in Washington, DC. Pompeo and other members of congress spoke about legislation to end energy subsidies in the tax code, including the wind production tax credit. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Trump's CIA Director is Kansas Republican Rep. Mike Pompeo, who served three terms in the House where he was "a conservative voice on national security issues," according to CNN. Pompeo is a former Army tank officer and will be, according to The New York Times, "one of the most overtly partisan figures to take over the C.I.A." According to CNN, Pompeo was one of Hillary Clinton's most outspoken critics.

Secretary Of Defense — James Mattis

CHRIS KLEPONIS/AFP/Getty Images
Marine Corps General James Mattis, commander of the US Central Command, appears before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington DC, March 1, 2011. Enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya would first require a military operation to destroy the north African nation's air defense systems, top US commander General James Mattis warned Tuesday. A no-fly zone would require removing 'the air defense capability first,' Mattis told a Senate hearing. 'It would be a military operation,' he added.

Regarded as a brilliant military strategist, retired Gen. James "Mad Dog" Mattis has been tapped as Trump's pick for defense secretary. Throughout his 40-year military career, Mattis earned major accolades for his role in leading the 1st Marine Division into Baghdad back in 2003. NPR's Rachel Martin in 2010 noted that, aside from "Mad Dog," Mattis' other nickname was "Warrior Monk," due to his propensity to carry books on Roman philosophy into the battlefield and his vast personal library of over 6,000 books.

Mattis was once criticized for comments he made during a 2005 panel discussion in San Diego, California, in which he reportedly claimed he "love[d] to shoot some people." Though he declined to respond to numerous outlets' requests for comment at the time, his colleague, then-Marine commandant Gen. Michael Hagee, came to Mattis' defense, saying that Mattis had "intended to reflect the unfortunate and harsh realities of war," adding that he "agree[d] he should have chosen his words more carefully."

White House Security Advisor — Michael T. Flynn

Drew Angerer/Getty Images News/Getty Images
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 17: Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn (C) arrives at Trump Tower, November 17, 2016 in New York City. President-elect Donald Trump and his transition team are in the process of filling cabinet and high level positions for the new administration. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn will serve as Trump's White House Security advisor. This is a position that won't require confirmation from Senate. Trump has called Flynn "one of the country's foremost experts on military and intelligence matters" and will be "an invaluable asset" to the Trump administration, according to CNN.  

Secretary Of Housing & Urban Development — Ben Carson

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images News/Getty Images
KING OF PRUSSIA, PA - NOVEMBER 01: Dr. Ben Carson delivers remarks during a Trump campaign event at the DoubleTree by Hilton November 1, 2016 in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump highlighted what they see as the failures of Obamacare. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Renowned neurosurgeon Ben Carson, formerly Trump's rival on the primary campaign trail (Trump once insinuated that Carson's self-described "pathological temper" during his teenage years — which he highlighted in his memoir Gifted Hands was comparable to the behavior of a pedophile at a campaign rally in Fort Dodge, Iowa last year) was tapped as Trump's secretary of Housing and Urban Development in early December. Despite the fact that Carson has no experience in that sector, fellow Republicans have praised his willingness to take on the challenging task at hand, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stating that Carson's "life-long career of selfless service will be a positive addition to the incoming administration," according to Trump's transition team.

Chief Strategist — Steve Bannon

Drew Angerer/Getty Images News/Getty Images
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 11: Trump campaign CEO Steve Bannon exits an elevator in the lobby of Trump Tower, November 11, 2016 in New York City. On Friday morning, Trump tweeted that he 'has a busy day in New York' and 'will soon be making some very important decisions on the people who will be running our government.' (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Steve Bannon made waves when he was chosen as Trump's chief strategist. Bannon is the former executive of Breitbart News, a conservative media website. Since being chosen as chief strategist, Bannon has brought the term "alt-right" into the mainstream and is considered to be one of Trump's anti-establishment picks for his cabinet. Bannon's position does not require Senate approval.

White House Chief Of Staff — Reince Priebus

Drew Angerer/Getty Images News/Getty Images
BEDMINSTER TOWNSHIP, NJ - NOVEMBER 19: (L to R) Reince Priebus looks on as President-elect Donald Trump prepares to greet Bob Woodson, president of the Center for Neighborhood Enterprise, before their meeting at Trump International Golf Club, November 19, 2016 in Bedminster Township, New Jersey. Trump and his transition team are in the process of filling cabinet and other high level positions for the new administration. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Former Republican National Committee chair Reince Priebus is a "Washington insider" who is "viewed broadly acceptable" by the Republican party, according to The Washington Post. Trump's decision to choose Priebus as his chief of staff signaled "Trump's willingness to work with the establishment." Priebus provides the experience and composed attitude that Trump tends to lack in certain situations. Priebus' position does not require Senate approval.

Secretary Of The Treasury — Steve Mnuchin

EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ/AFP/Getty Images
Advisor Steven Mnuchin arrives at the Trump Tower for meetings with US President-elect Donald Trump, in New York on November 17, 2016.

Mnuchin is a businessman, movie financier, and — perhaps most notably — a Goldman Sachs alum. As The Guardian noted, Mnuchin was once dubbed a "foreclosure king" after he took advantage of the financial crisis to buy up failing mortgages, evict homeowners, and rebrand the newly-purchased IndyMac mortgage lender, now operating under the name OneWest. OneWest subsequently found itself the subject of a complaint that alleged the lender was engaging in racially discriminatory practices; It was also accused of "being too quick to foreclose on struggling homeowners," according to Fortune. (Representatives for Mnuchin did not immediately respond to Romper's request for comment.)

Mnuchin is credited on as a producer on several films after he bankrolled such blockbusters as Suicide Squad, Avatar, American Sniper, and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. He recently had a cameo in the film Rules Don't Apply as a Merrill Lynch Executive. According to IMDB, Mnuchin also previously served as "co-chairman of the now bankrupt Relativity Media."

EPA Administrator — Scott Pruitt

EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ/AFP/Getty Images
Oklahoma AG Scott Pruitt (L) arrives for meetings with President-elect Donald Trump November 28, 2016 at Trump Tower in New York

To say Pruitt, current Oklahoma attorney general, is a divisive pick to head up the EPA is an understatement. The lawyer and former congressional candidate (he lost out to Cathy Keating, then-state first lady, in the 2002 election cycle) has been described by Politico as openly hostile to the EPA in the past. As Romper's Karen Fratti puts it, in her profile of the controversial AG,

SBA Administrator — Linda McMahon

Drew Angerer/Getty Images News/Getty Images
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 30: Linda McMahon, former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), speaks to reporters at Trump Tower, November 30, 2016 in New York City. President-elect Donald Trump and his transition team are in the process of filling cabinet and other high level positions for the new administration. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

McMahon has been tapped to lead the Small Business Administration (SBA) in Trump's Cabinet, a department for which Trump says the WWE magnate will be "a phenomenal leader and champion."

"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," Trump said, in a transition statement on Dec. 7. "Linda has a tremendous background and is widely recognized as one of the country’s top female executives advising businesses around the globe. She helped grow WWE from a modest 13-person operation to a publicly traded global enterprise with more than 800 employees in offices worldwide. [She will help] unleash America's entrepreneurial spirit all across the country."

Labor Secretary — Andy Puzder

Drew Angerer/Getty Images News/Getty Images
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 7: CEO of CKE Restaurants Andy Puzder (C) departs Trump Tower, December 7, 2016 in New York City. President-elect Donald Trump and his transition team are in the process of filling cabinet and other high level positions for the new administration. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Puzder is the CEO of CKE restaurants, the parent company of such popular chains as Hardees and Carl's Jr., and a frequent legal contributor to such outlets as The Wall Street Journal, CNBC, The National Review, and Politico. Like several of his Trump-appointed colleagues, Puzder is no stranger to controversy either, having previously stated that raising the minimum wage kills jobs and that automation in the fast food industry (which would, ironically, kill jobs) would be a good thing. He has also been a staunch critic of many worker protections and his company paid $9 million in settlements over three class-action lawsuits regarding overtime pay in 2004, according to CNN Money.

However, of Puzder's appointment, Trump issued a glowing statement, noting,

Secretary Of Homeland Security — John Kelly

NORBERTO DUARTE/AFP/Getty Images
US Southern Command commander General John F. Kelly (R) speaks next to Paraguayan Defence Minister Bernardino Soto Estigarribia during a press conference on July 30, 2014 at the National Defense Ministry in Asuncion. Kelly is in Paraguay in a three-day official visit.

Kelly, a retired Marine general with a decorated career history, was officially tapped as Trump's DHS pick on Dec. 12. At the time, Trump issued a statement saying:

However, as Romper's Andrea Frazier noted, Kelly hasn't always been a staunch Trump ally, like some of his selected colleagues:

In the past, Kelly has been critical of President Obama's efforts to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, calling the documented human rights abuses there "foolishness," according to the ACLU.

As the end of Trump's transition period nears, his list of Cabinet picks will only continue to grow — and with the nation already divided, only time will tell whether those picks will lend their voices to a message of unity, or shut it down.

(Additional reporting by Melanie Schmitz)