Donald Trump’s Cabinet-in-waiting: What we know so far


There are only a few key spots left as Washington watches to see who President-elect Donald Trump will select to fill the final spots in his Cabinet.

The people Trump picks will not only be tasked with running entire departments, they’ll be the best indication of how Trump intends to govern and which of his many (and sometimes contradictory) policy positions he intends to pursue.

Here are the picks announced so far for Cabinet and Cabinet-level jobs:

Chief of staff

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus will be Trump’s chief of staff.

Treasury secretary

Steven Mnuchin, a 17-year-veteran of Goldman Sachs, is Trump’s pick for Treasury secretary.

Secretary of state

Trump tapped ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson to lead the State Department.

Secretary of defense

Trump picked retired Marine General James Mattis as his defense secretary.

Attorney general

President-elect Trump has tapped Sen. Jeff Sessions as attorney general.

Commerce secretary

Billionaire investor Wilbur Ross, a Trump economic adviser, is Trump’s pick for commerce secretary.

Labor secretary

Trump has tapped Andy Puzder, the CEO of CKE Restaurants, which included the Carl’s Jr. fast food chain.

Health and Human Services secretary

Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), the chairman of the House Budget Committee and an early Trump backer, was chosen to lead the Department of Health and Human Services.

Housing and Urban Development secretary

Trump tapped retired neurosurgeon and former GOP primary rival Ben Carson to serve as HUD secretary.

Transportation secretary

Trump picked former Labor Secretary Elaine Chao to serve as secretary of transportation. Chao served as deputy secretary of transportation under President George H.W. Bush and is married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Education secretary

Trump announced that he will nominate Betsy DeVos, a prominent advocate for school choice and charter schools, as education secretary.

Homeland Security secretary

Trump has decided to nominate Marine Gen. John Kelly, the former U.S. Southern Command chief, to run the Department of Homeland Security.

Interior Secretary

Montana Rep. Ryan Zinke, a first-term congressman, was Trump’s choice.

Energy secretary

Trump picked former Texas Gov. Rick Perry for energy secretary.

Environmental Protection Agency administrator

Trump picked Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to run the EPA.

Ambassador to the United Nations

Trump has tapped South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley to be his ambassador to the United Nations.

Director of the Office of Management and Budget

Trump tapped Rep. Mick Mulvaney, a conservative South Carolina Republican, to lead the Office of Management and Budget.
Here are Trump’s choices for other White House and administration jobs:

Special representative for international negotiations

Trump named his longtime attorney Jason Greenblatt, who also has advised him on Israel, to the position of “special representative for international negotiations.”

Assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism

Trump tapped Thomas Bossert, a former national security aide to President George W. Bush, as his homeland security adviser in the White House.

White House counselor

Kellyanne Conway, Donald Trump’s campaign manager and a senior transition adviser, will serve in the White House as a counselor to Trump.

Chief strategist

Former Breitbart News executive Steve Bannon, who was Trump’s campaign CEO, will be Trump’s chief White House strategist.

White House national security adviser

Trump has picked Retired Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn for national security adviser.

White House counsel

Trump tapped Donald McGahn, a partner at the firm Jones Day who served as the Trump campaign’s general counsel, for the job. McGahn is a former chairman of the Federal Election Commission.

Director of the Central Intelligence Agency

Trump has chosen Kansas Rep. Mike Pompeo for the job.

White House communications team

Sean Spicer will serve as Trump’s White House press secretary, Hope Hicks will be Trump’s strategic communications director, and Dan Scavino will be social media director.

Small Business Administration administrator

Trump has picked Linda McMahon, a professional wrestling executive and former Republican contender for Connecticut’s U.S. Senate seats, to lead the Small Business Administration.
Deputy commerce secretary

Trump tapped Todd Ricketts, the co-owner of the Chicago Cubs and a member of the powerful conservative Ricketts family, to be deputy secretary of commerce.
Deputy national security adviser

Trump has selected K.T. McFarland, a Fox News analyst who served as an official in the Reagan White House, to be his deputy national security adviser.
Senior policy adviser to the president for policy

Stephen Miller, a key campaign aide, will serve in this post.

Director, National Economic Council

Gary Cohn, the president and COO of Goldman Sachs, was the president-elect’s pick to lead the NEC.

Republican National Committee

Michigan GOP Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel was picked by the president-elect to succeed Priebus as the national chair.

Regulatory reform adviser

Investor Carl Icahn will serve as Trump’s special adviser for overhauling regulations.

Director of the White House National Trade Council

Peter Navarro, an economics and public policy professor who helped craft Trump’s trade policies during the campaign, will lead a new trade council inside the White House.
The following is a list of likely contenders and will be frequently updated as new information becomes available.
Agriculture secretary

Trump met Dec. 28 with Elsa Murano, a former president at Texas A&M University and USDA food safety official, to discuss the agriculture secretary job. The same day, the president elect also chatted with Abel Maldonado, who owns a California’s Runway Vineyard, about possibly taking the position.

Meanwhile, Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller is scheduled to travel to Mar-a-Lago on Friday to meet with incoming White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, according to a source close to Miller. The fiery Texan has been openly vying for the Agriculture secretary job, recently releasing an op-ed predicting that Trump would “defy his critics, befuddle his opponents and become one of our greatest presidents.”

And Susan Combs, a former Texas agriculture commissioner, is another possible candidate for the job after a recent meeting with Vice President-elect Mike Pence.

However, should Trump choose Murano, Maldonado or Combs, he would likely draw the ire of his 70-plus member agriculture advisory committee, which backed him on the campaign trail and have called for the nomination of one of their own. Miller is a member of the committee.

Other people rumored earlier in the process to be in line for the job have largely faded from view.

Three-term Idaho Gov. Butch Otter added his name to the mix of candidates for agriculture secretary when one of his spokesman told an Idaho radio station he was being vetted, though it’s unclear if he was ever really in the running.

Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.) was seen as the leading candidate after her early December meeting, but sources say both Democratic leadership, concerned about the loss of a Senate seat, and many of Trump’s agriculture advisors are against the move. Heitkamp said recently she’s “likely” to remain in the Senate.

Former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue visited Trump tower on Nov. 30 and was earlier considered to be in the mix.

Other names include: Charles Herbster, a Nebraska-based agribusinessman who helped to organize Trump’s agriculture advisory council; one-time deputy agriculture secretary Chuck Conner; Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback; and former Nebraska Gov. Dave Heinemann.

Veterans Affairs secretary

Cleveland Clinic CEO Toby Cosgrove has emerged as the top contender to be Trump’s secretary of Veterans Affairs.

Trump has also met twice to discuss the VA post with Pete Hegseth, the former head of Concerned Veterans for America, a conservative advocacy group established in 2012 and backed by the industrialist Koch brothers.

Hegseth, a 36-year-old Iraq War veteran, has butted heads with the more traditional veterans groups for some of his aggressive tactics and they have raised concerns that as secretary of Veterans Affairs he would make radical changes that could hurt veterans, like pushing for privatization of health care services.

Some of those groups have urged Trump to keep on Bob McDonald, the former CEO of Procter & Gamble who has been running the VA since 2014.

But others, including VA whistleblowers who have reported a series of dangerous failures at the agencies, recently wrote to Trump endorsing Hegseth.

“These organizations each want to keep the status quo and to keep lining their pockets at the expense of our nation’s heroes,” they wrote of the more established vets groups. “That is exactly the reason Mr. Hegseth is the right choice to run the VA.”

Trump has also met with former Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts to discuss the VA post. And House Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Jeff Miller, who’s retiring from the House and was an early Trump backer, has also been seen as a potential candidate though has not met with the president-elect about it.

U.S. trade representative

Among the top contenders Trump is considering for U.S. trade representative are two men leading the transition at the agency: Dan DiMicco, a former steel company executive who advised Trump on trade throughout his campaign; and Robert Lighthizer, a longtime trade lawyer who has spent much of his legal career representing U.S. steel companies.

Both men align with Trump’s defensive view of trade, and picking either would send a signal he is likely to follow through on promises to get tough on China and other nations that break the rules on trade.

Another name that has recently entered the mix is that of Wayne Berman, a senior executive at the Blackstone Group and a Republican mega-donor. Others said to be in the running but seen as less likely candidates include David McCormick, president of Bridgewater Associates, and former Rep. Charles Boustany, a Louisiana Republican and longtime advocate of free trade.


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