All Of Trump's Cabinet Picks So Far & What You Need To Know About Them
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 Education — Betsey DeVos
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
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."
Secretary Of Commerce — Wilbur Ross
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
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
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."
C.I.A Director — Mike Pompeo
Trump's C.I.A 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
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
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.
Chief Strategist — Steve Bannon
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
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
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."
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.