Greg Lance – Watkins
Who are Donald Trump’s cabinet picks? Rex Tillerson, Betsy DeVos and more key names profiled
The new president’s cabinet includes millionaires, amateurs, donors – and Hulk Hogan’s old boss.
The new president’s cabinet includes millionaires, amateurs, donors – and Hulk Hogan’s old boss.
One nomination is currently suing the organisation he’ll soon be running while another has called for his new Department to be abolished altogether.
And the new Education Secretary thinks guns should be allowed in schools to combat the threat of grizzly bears.
Here’s a run down of Donald Trump’s cabinet nominees.
Secretary of State: Rex Tillerson
Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson has no experience in government, having worked for the oil giant since 1975.
He’s the 29th highest paid CEO in the US, and earned $24.3 million this year – which was a 15% pay cut on 2015.
Secretary of State is the US equivalent of Foreign Secretary – a senior cabinet position with responsibility for overseas and diplomatic relations.
But his nomination will intensify concern over the Trump administration’s cosy relationship with Russia – particularly after the CIA’s assertion that Russian hackers tried to manipulate the election result – not to mention the unverified Watersportsgate dossier.
Tillerson was awarded an Order of Friendship medal by Putin himself, after he brokered a major deal giving Exxon access to Russia’s Arctic oil reserves.
Secretary of Defence: James “Mad Dog” Mattis
A retired US Marine Corps general, James Mattis was appointed to serve as Commander of US Central Command in 2013 by Barack Obama.
He’s disliked by the right for backing a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine.
He once said “have a plan to kill everyone you meet” and singles out Iran as world’s threat ahead of ISIS but takes a strong line on Vladimir Putin.
Secretary of Homeland Security: John F Kelly
John F Kelly is another retired Marine general who served under the Obama administration.
He was the longest serving Marine general in US history – and is notable among Trump’s picks because he refused to endorse either presidential candidate.
He’s been a defender of US troops using ‘force feeding’ tactics in Guantanamo Bay, saying it’s a “necessary practice” to keep inmates healthy.
The Intercept reported last week that he’d failed to disclose links to the Spectrum Group, a defence contractor lobbying firm – as well as two other board memberships at other contractors – on his ethics form.
CIA director: Mike Pompeo
Mike Pompeo is a Republican congressman from Kansas, and a former Army Captain.
He was swept into congress along with the tea party movement in the 2011 mid-term elections.
He was an outspoken critic of Hillary Clinton ’s handling of the attack on the US embassy in Benghazi, Libya in 2012 and thinks Edward Snowden should be executed for leaking government secrets to the press.
He’s spoken out in favour of the CIA’s use of torture, and has barely spoken about cybersecurity at all in his career, leading some to question his eligibility to lead America’s response to cyberattacks from Russia and elsewhere.
Treasury Secretary: Steven Mnuchin
Ex Goldman Sachs exec Steve Mnuchin profited greatly from the 2008 housing bust.
He was an early supporter of Trump and was described by the President elect as a “world class financier, banker and businessman.”
He also co-produced a number of Hollywood movies, including Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Attorney General: Jeff Sessions
Jeff Sessions is the junior United States Senator for Alabama.
He’s previously served as Attorney General of Alabama, before being elected to the senate in 1994. He supported most of George W Bush’s legislative priorities, including tax cuts, the Iraq War and proposed bans on same-sex marriage.
He opposed Obama’s 2009 stimulus bill, Obamacare and the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.
His confirmation hearings have been dogged by protests over his alleged sympathies for the Ku Klux Klan – which he denies.
Jeff Sessions said allegations that he harboured sympathies towards the violent white supremacist organisation are false.
Sessions was denied confirmation to a federal judgeship in 1986 after allegations emerged that he made racist remarks, including testimony that he called an African-American prosecutor “boy,” an allegation he denied.
He once referred to the American Civil Liberties Union and National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People as “unamerican” because they “forced civil rights down the throats of people.
US trade representative: Robert Lighthizer
Robert Lighthizer was a deputy US trade representative during the Reagan administration in the 1980s.
He is a harsh critic of China’s trade practices, and has spent the last 30 years as a lawyer representing US steelmakers in anti-dumping and anti-subsidy cases.
Secretary of Labor: Andrew Puzder
Andy Puzder is the CEO of the CKE Restaurants, which owns fast-food chains Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr.
He served as an advisor to Romney’s 2012 campaign and raised money for Trump ahead of last year’s election.
In 2009, he defended a string of Carl’s Jr ads which objectified women by saying: “We believe in putting hot models in our commercials because ugly ones don’t sell burgers.”
CNN reported on Tuesday that Puzder is having “second thoughts” about his nomination because he’s “not into the pounding he is taking – and the paperwork.”
Secretary of Health and Human Services: Tom Price
Tom Price has been a Georgia congressman since 2005.
In that time he’s been a critic of Obamacare and voted to terminate a program that subsidises contraception for low-income women.
He also voted against a law barring employers from firing women for using contraception.
Most recently he’s faced calls for an investigation into his investments in healthcare stocks while he was an influential voice on healthcare policy.
Secretary of Energy: Rick Perry
Rick Perry was governor of Texas for 15 years until 2015.
He ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination in both the 2012 and 2016 elections.
During a 2011 primary debate he called for the Department of Energy to be abolished, something he now says he regrets.
He reportedly misunderstood the job of Energy secretary, assuming he was taking on the role as a global ambassador for the US oil and gas industry.
According to the New York Times: “In the days after, Mr. Perry… discovered that he would be no such thing — that in fact, if confirmed by the Senate, he would become the steward of a vast national security complex he knew almost nothing about, caring for the most fearsome weapons on the planet, the United States’ nuclear arsenal.”
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development: Ben Carson
Ben Carson is a former neurosurgeon who ran unsuccessfully to be the Republican nominee in last year’s presidential election.
He has little experience in the field of housing and urban development.
Ben Carson believes the pyramids were built not by the Pharaohs of Egypt as tombs, but by Joseph (of the Bible’s book of Genesis) as silos in which to store gain.
Administrator of Environmental Protection Agency: Scott Pruitt
Scott Pruit is a climate change sceptic who has been accused of being a “puppet” of the fossil fuel industry.
As Attorney General of Oklahoma, he campaigned against the Clean Power Act, which was aimed at combating climate change.
In his confirmation hearing, he claimed human activity only “impacted” rather than “caused” climate change.
He has sued the organisation he is about to lead 14 times in the last six years and lost almost every time.
One of the lawsuits is still ongoing.
Secretary of Commerce: Wilbur Ross
Donald Trump’s new trade chief has urged Britain’s rivals to take advantage of the “God-given opportunity” of Brexit to take business away from the UK.
Wilbur Ross, a billionaire businessman, said Britain was facing a “period of confusion” following the vote to leave the EU and that it was “inevitable” there would be “relocations”.
The billionaire businessman will be responsible for negotiating a free trade deal with the UK and his reported comments will raise concerns the incoming US administration will seek to exploit Britain’s isolation following Brexit .
Secretary of Transportation: Elaine Chao
Elaine Chao is the first Asian American woman to be appointed to the President’s cabinet.
She’s married to Mitch McConnell, the Republican Majority leader, and served as deputy Secretary of Transportation under George HW Bush, and as Secretary of Labour under George W Bush.
US ambassador to the UN: Nikki Haley
Nikki Haley is the Governor of South Carolina, and at 44 is the youngest current governor of a US state.
She’s the second Indian-American, after Bobby Jindal, to serve as a US governor.
She shot to fame after delivering the official Republican response to Barack Obama’s final State of the Union address in January 2016.
During her confirmation hearings, she accused Russia of committing war crimes in Syria.
She said: “Russia is trying to show their muscle right now. It’s what they do. I don’t think we can trust them. We have to continue to be very strong back, and show them what this new administration is going to be.”
Secretary of Interior: Ryan Zinke
Ryan Zinke is a Montana congressman and ex Navy SEAL Commander.
After leaving the Navy, he embarked on a career in property management and business development consulting – and served on the board of oil pipeline company QS Energy.
As Secretary of Interior, Zinke will oversee all 254 million acres of federal lands – and there are concerns he will launch a programme of selling off public land to oil and gas firms.
He told his confirmation hearing: “Some areas need to be set aside, but a lot of it you can hunt and fish, you can drill an oil well. I don’t think they’re in conflict, I think you have to do it right.”
Education: Betsy DeVos
Betsy DeVos is an outspoken fan of “school choice” – which aims to undermine the US public school system by giving federal money to private schools.
During her chaotic confirmation hearing she blamed a “clerical error” for appearing on the board of her mother’s foundation, which donated more than £4 million to Focus on the Family, an anti-gay extremist group designated a ‘hate group’ by the Southern Poverty Law Centre.
She also argued that guns should be allowed in some schools because of the threat from grizzly bears.
Head of Small Business Administration: Linda McMahon
Linda McMahon is the co-founder and former CEO of of World Wrestling Entertainment.
That’s right. WWE. Hulk Hogan, The Rock, The Undertaker, Triple H, Kurt Angle. That one.
She personally owns $84 million in stock in the wrestling entertainment empire.
She donated $6 million to Trump’s campaign in August and September.
The above gif shows her in a wrestling ring, kicking her husband Vince McMahon in the crotch.
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