US election

Trump Cabinet Update: New Names Announced

By December 20, 2016 No Comments

After the election last month, JKL Newsroom issued a report on the incoming Trump team, including information on his family, staff, closest circle, and cabinet selections that had been announced up to that point. It includes information on the structure of a presidential administration, and the U.S. Government.

You can view that report here: Trumps Vita Hus.

A few cabinet position selections have still not been announced. They are the United States Trade Representative (USTR), the Chairman of the Council of Economic AdvisersSecretary of Veterans Affairs, and the Secretary of Agriculture.

Among those, the next USTR is of particular importance for Sweden and the European Union, because that is an official who will have significant say on the development of future U.S. trade policy. The USTR also conducts negotiations on trade agreements such as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

But many key cabinet selections have been announced by the Trump transition team now, including for Secretary of StateSecretary of the Treasury, and Secretary of Defense.

Here is an overview of cabinet-level selections by Trump and his transition team that have been announced since we published our report. All will still have to be confirmed by the Senate when Trump takes office in January.

Secretary of State: Rex Tillerson

Rex Tillerson is the current Chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil, a multinational oil and gas corporation headquartered in Texas. An engineer by training, Tillerson has been with Exxon for his entire career, building a reputation as a global deal-maker. He became Chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil in 2006.

Tillerson’s appointment is controversial due to his close ties to the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin. In 2013, Putin awarded Tillerson the Order of Friendship, the highest award to a non-Russian national, for developing the Russian energy sector. Tillerson opposes sanctions against Russia that were imposed during the Ukrainian crisis in 2014.

Secretary of the Treasury: Steven MnuchinSteven_Mnuchin

Steven Mnuchin is a banker, and film producer who is a former partner and senior manager of the investment bank Goldman Sachs. After leaving Goldman Sachs, Mnuchin worked as a hedge fund manager, and CEO of OneWest, a bank created mostly from assets purchased from failing banks during the financial crisis.

Mnuchin is national finance chairman for Donald Trump’s campaign and was an early supporter of Trump’s during the primary contest. In the past, he has contributed to both Democratic and Republican candidates and PACs.

Secretary of Defense: James MattisJames_Mattis_official_Transition_portrait

James Mattis is a retired United States Marine Corps general who last served as Commander of United States Central Command. Mattis served with the Marines from 1969 until 2013 and has been widely acknowledged as a capable military leader.

Since retiring, Mattis has served on a number of corporate boards, including General Dynamics and Theranos, and as a Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution. In order to become Secretary of Defense, Mattis will need Congress to waive a rule intended to ensure civilian control over the military that requires nominees to the office to have been out of the military for at least seven years.

Secretary of Commerce: Wilbur RossWilbur_Ross,_Official

Wilbur Ross is a billionaire investor who made his fortune in a range of different industries including steel, coal, automotive, and telecoms, through leveraged buyouts and the restructuring of distressed businesses.

Before launching his own business in 2000, he spent 20 years at Rothschild Inc as a bankruptcy adviser. Ross has supported both Democrats and Republicans in the past.

Secretary of Energy: Rick PerryRick_Perry_February_2015

Rick Perry was Republican Governor of Texas from 2000 until 2015, the longest serving governor in Texas history. Perry ran for the Republican nomination for president in 2012 and again in 2016.

In his 2012 campaign he advocated for abolishing the Department of Energy, but famously was unable to name it during a primary debate. Since 2015, Perry has sat on the board of Energy Transfer Partners, a major natural gas and propane company.

Secretary of the Interior: Ryan ZinkeRyan_Zinke_official_congressional_photo_(crop)

Ryan Zinke is the current Republican Congressman for Montana’s single congressional district, a position which he has held since 2015. He previously served as a state-senator after a career as a U.S. Navy SEAL from 1986 to 2008.

The State of Montana has a significant amount of public land that the Interior Department oversees. He has been considered a potential candidate for the Montana Senate seat currently held by Democrat Jon Tester, but would be unlikely to run if confirmed as Secretary of the Interior.

Secretary of Health and Human Services: Tom PriceTom_Price_official_Transition_portrait

Tom Price is a Republican Congressman from Georgia who has served in that position since 2005. Previously, he served as a Georgia State Senator since 1997. He currently Chairs the powerful House Budget Committee.

Price is a medical doctor specializing in orthopedic surgery. He has been an outspoken critic of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. He has worked on and introduced replacement legislation on a regular basis since the act was passed in 2009.

Andrew_Puzder_by_Gage_SkidmoreSecretary of Labor: Andrew Puzder

Andrew Puzder is a fast-food executive who has served as the chief executive of CKE Restaurants since 2000. The company owns a number of fast-food brands, including Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s. Prior to his current position, he worked as corporate counsel and anti-abortion lawyer in Missouri.

Puzder has been an outspoken critic of regulation of the hospitality industry and of many of the Obama administration’s labor policies. He has advocated against raising the federal minimum wage or expanding access to overtime pay and sick leave.

Elaine_Chao_2016Secretary of Transportation: Elaine Chao

Elaine Chao is a Fellow at the Heritage Foundation who serves on a number of boards, including the Harvard Institute of Politics and Wells Fargo. She served as Secretary of Labor from 2001 to 2009 President George W. Bush, and as Deputy Secretary of Transportation from 1989 to 1991 under President George H.W. Bush.

Chao was born in Taiwan and moved to the United States as a child.  She is married to Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

720px-Kelly_2012Secretary of Homeland Security: John Kelly

John Kelly is a retired United States Marine Corps general who last served as commander of United States Southern Command. Kelly retired in January 2016 after more than 40 years in the Marine Corps. During the 2003 invasion of Iraq, he commanded a task force that secured the city of Tikrit.

He is known to oppose closing the prison at Guantanamo Bay, and has been a critic of the Obama administration regarding border security. Kelly’s son, Robert Kelly, was killed in combat in Afghanistan in 2010.

Scott_Pruitt_by_Gage_SkidmoreAdministrator of the Environmental Protection Agency: Scott Pruitt

Scott Pruitt is the current Republican Attorney General of Oklahoma, a position he has held since 2011. He previously served as a State Senator, and has also worked as a lawyer in private practice.

Pruitt is a strong critic of the Environmental Protection Agency, who has sued the agency unsuccessfully on several regulatory matters related to regulating power plants and expanding the definitions of protected waters. Pruitt denies climate science that shows climate change being caused by human activity.

Mick_Mulvaney,_Official_Portrait,_113th_CongressDirector of the Office of Management and Budget: Mick Mulvaney

Mick Mulvaney is a Republican Congressman from South Carolina. Before becoming a Congressman, he was a lawyer, a real estate developer, and restaurant chain executive. He then served in the South Carolina state legislature from 2007 to 2011.

He is known as a budget hawk, which stands in contrast to Trump’s promised spending increases. He is a member of the Freedom Caucus, the Tea Party Caucus, and the Republican Study Committee, all conservative congressional groups. In 2015 he endorsed Rand Paul’s 2016 candidacy for president.

Linda_McMahon_Creative_Commons_Attribution-Share_Alike_2.0_GenericAdministrator of the Small Business Administration: Linda McMahon

Linda McMahon is an owner and former executive of Worldwide Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), along with her husband, Vince McMahon. She has also twice run unsuccessfully for Senator of Connecticut in 2010 and then 2012.

McMahon and her husband have a longstanding relationship with Donald Trump. Trump has appeared on WWE as a prominent show rival of Vince’s, which culminated in Trump dramatically shaving Vince’s head in a wrestling ring. The McMahon’s are major donors to the Donald Trump Foundation and have also been contributors to Republican PACs.


Images: Gage Skidmore, Matt Wade, Office of the President-Elect, Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain