The Obama Cabinet
Before we forget, let's look at President Obama's cabinet (December 10, 2016). If you can identify the names or even the backgrounds of any six of these incumbents you are doing better than I was able to do:
- State: Kerry
- Treasury: Lew
- Defense: Ashton Carter
- Justice: Loretta E Lynch
- Interior: Sally Jewell
- Agriculture: Thomas J Vilsack
- Commerce: Penny Pritzker
- Labor: Thomas E Perez
- HHS: Sylvia Mathews Burwell
- HUD: Julian Castro
- Transportation: Anthony Fox
- Energy: Ernest Moniz
- Education: John King
- VA: Robert McDonald
- Homeland Security: Jeh Johnson
- Chief of staff: Denis McDonough
- EPA: Gina McCarthy
- OMB: Shaun L S Donovan
- US Trade Rep: Michael Froman
- US Ambassador to UN: Samantha Power
- Council of Economic Advisers: Jason Furman
- SBA: Maria Contreras-Sweet
- Director of National Intelligence:
April 27, 2017: just days before President Trump's 100th day in office, the US Senate confirms his last cabinet nominee, the Labor Secretary.
April 23, 2017: US Surgeon General (appointed by President Obama), fired (he was asked to resign). He was on the opposite side of the gun issue from the NRA. The #2 over at the US Surgeon's office was elevated to US Surgeon General.
March 2, 2017: Rick Perry confirmed.
March 1, 2017: Interior Secretary finally confirmed; Ryan Zinke.
February 28, 2017: Wilbur Ross confirmed overnight as Commerce secretary.
February 20, 2017: Just named General H.R. McMaster National Security Advisor -- @realDonaldTrump.
February 16, 2017: Vice Admiral Robert Harward has rejected President Trump’s offer to be the new national security adviser.
February 15, 2017: Andy Pudzer, CEO of holding company, Carl's Jr and Arby's withdraws his name
February 15, 2017: National Security Advisor: retired U.S. Navy Vice Admiral Robert S. Harward, to replace Michael Flynn
Feburary 14, 2017: SBA: Linda McMahon, wrestling magnate, WWE, December 7, 2016; sworn in February 14, 2017.
February 14, 2017: Flynn is fired; Trump is upset with leaks; lots of talk that Reince Priebus is in over his head; Trump is having lunch with Chris Christie today. Is Trump looking for a new chief of staff?
February 13, 2017: national security advisor Michael Flynn abruptly resigned; retired Army General Keith Kellogg, a top policy adviser for Trump's presidential campaign, was appointed acting natioanl security adviser. The political hack Sally Yates, when she was the acting attorney general, delivered the message that Flynn was considered vulnerable to White House counsel Donald McGahn. Yates, apparently, was privy to FBI monitoring showing that Flynn discussed sanctions on Russia with Kislyak -- even though Flynn told administration officials that he had not. Pence repeated the misinformation in national television appearances. [The National Security Advisor is appointed by the President without confirmation by the Senate.]
February 8, 2017: James Sessions finally confirmed as US Attorney General.
February 7, 2017: at this in their respective presidencies the number of confirmations, according to Fox Business News:
- Trump: 5
- Obama: 12
- Bush: 16
February 1, 2017: Rex Tillerson confirmed as SecState.
January 29, 2017: late this past week, the Mexican fiasco and now the airport demonstrations; now Lindsay Graham and John McCain joint issue statement with concerns; Trump tweets back that Graham and McCain are weak on immigration. Rex Tillerson has not been confirmed by the Senate. Earlier this week it was clear that Rex Tillerson would be confirmed; my hunch is that his confirmation is now no better than a 50:50 bet.
January 24, 2017: Haley confirmed.
January 23, 2017: I was sure Rex Tillerson would go down to defeat, or at best, 51 - 50 with VP Pence casting the deciding vote. But now I hear Marco Rubio has decided to vote to confirm Tillerson; Lindsey Graham and John McCain had indicated earlier they, too, would vote to confirm. Pompeo confirmed.
January 20, 2017: Mike Pompeo: only one of three that was not confirmed on inauguration day (the two that were: SecDefense Mattis and Homeland Security Kelly). Democrats found away to delay confirmation vote on Pompeo until January 23, 2017, at the earliest. it should be noted that all eight of Obama's major cabinet choices were confirmed by inaugural day
January 18, 2017: likely to be former Georgia governor Perdue, now age 70, the first Republican to win governorship of Georgia in 130 years.
January 12, 2017: it looks like two of Trump's key appointments could be voted down by the Senate: Tillerson and Sessions. If Tillerson is voted down, I would hope that Trump would simply leave the position open. The bureaucracy will run itself; the department has any number of under-secretaries that can run the basic bureaucracy (passports, visas, etc), but in the big scheme of things, what did John Kerry or Hillary Clinton really do in their positions as Secretaries of State. After about six months, the Senate will start to "panic" saying the US needs a SecState: Trump should simply reply he has made his nomination. Time to move on. With Sessions, it's a bit more complicated. But if Trump loses these nominations, he will be seen as an incredibly weakened president and the Senate will see that it can easily stand up to Trump. If he loses on Tillerson and Sessions, he will lose on at least two more nominees and for sure his first Supreme Court nomination will not be approved.
January 11, 2017; if Tillerson not approved, Marco Rubio will take the blame. If Marco Rubio votes against Tillerson, so will McCain.
January 11, 2017: David Shulkin for VA. Current undersecretary for health at VA; in that post since July, 2015.
January 5, 2017: very little being written on Veterans Affairs, but Washington Examiner suggests Lockheed Martin senior vice president Leo Mackay could be choice.
January 5, 2017: front-runner for Director, National Intelligence - former senator Dan Coats (R-Ind); a traditional Republican; two stints in US Senate; ambassador to Germany under Bush II.
January 2, 2017: new front-runner for Secretary of Agriculture -- former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue declined to confirm or deny reports Monday that he's now the leading candidate to serve as Donald Trump's agriculture secretary.
December 22, 2016: Department of Agriculture. Only two more cabinet members need to be appointed: Veterans Affairs and Agriculture. Unless she messes up her interview, Elsa Murano is likely to be his top choice for Agriculture. [December 28, 2016, LA Times is reporting that Trump is now adding former California lieutenant governor to the list; he will meet with Murano and Abel Maldonado same day, December 28, 2016]. Trump cannot afford to be first president since Reagan -- 28 years -- to have no Latino in his cabinet. In addition, she was born in Cuba. She preceded Bob Gates at A&M. Bob Gates is emerging as Trump's #1 advisor. So, with Elsa, Trump does better than a two-fer; the nominee would be a three-fer: female; Latino (or more accurately, Latina); and, Cuban immigrant. How would that play in Florida looking toward 2020? As of December 28, 2016, four on the list.
December 13, 2016: Montana's freshman representative offered Secretary of Interior. Ryan Zinke. Job originally offered to Cathy McMorris Rodgers, but Trump or his advisors not impressed; wanted the search widened.
December 13, 2016: Tillerson to be nominee for SecState; Texan Rick Perry to Secretary of Energy who famously wanted to eliminate the Energy Department -- although he had forgotten.
December 10, 2016, 2:20 p.m. Central Time: sources tell media that Rex Tillerson, former CEO of Exxon Mobil will be nominated for Secretary of State.
December 9, 2016: Department of Interior, leading -- highest ranking Republican woman in the House of Representatives; strident advocate for increased oil and gas drilling on federal lands, Rep Cathy McMorris Rodgers.
December 9, 2016: the end of the line for Rudy Giuliani.
December 9, 2016: Gary Cohn, senior GS banker; coordinate economic policy across his administration as White House National Economic Council; would join two other former Goldman execs in the Trump administration: Treasury Secretary -designate Steven Mnuchin and White House adviser Steve Bannon.
December 9, 2016: for those not paying attention, Rudy Giuliani was out of the running for SecState some weeks ago. To prepare Rudy, if he didn't already know, and to prepare his supporter, if they don't already know, it is being "leaked" (perhaps by Russian hackers) that Rudy Giuliani is out of the running for SecState -- breaking news on MSNBC's "Morning Joe." Chris Christi was kicked off the island even before Rudy Giuliani. The cabinet process really does seem to be a "reality show."
December 8, 2016: fast-food executive Andy Puzder for Secretary of Labor. Puzder, chief executive of CKE Restaurants Inc, which operates the Carl's Jr. and Hardee's fast-food chains, has been a vociferous critic of government regulation of the workplace. I've posted comments from Puzder on several occasions.
December 5, 2016: official -- Ben Carson to HUD. Speaks volumes what the administration thinks of HUD. Even Obama did not think much of/about HUD. Does anyone remember his SecHUD. I do. Another lightweight.
December 2, 2016: two new names -- being considered for SecState? Rex Tillerson, CEO/Exxon Mobil and Lee Raymond, ex-CEO/XOM; VA? Scott Brown of Massachussetts -- even Elizabeth Warren supports him (of course, she does; she doesn't want to run against him again)
December 1, 2016: General James Mattis -- SecDef.
November 29, 2016: we haven't heard much about SecDefense lately. One wonders if James Mattis has fallen out of favor after Trump's recent discussions with Petraeus and Romney. Perhaps there is a grand compromise being worked out. It's pretty much agreed that Trump would like both Petraeus and Romney in his cabinet. Despite Trump's strong endorsement of Mattis he doesn't fit the "Trump" picture. Just 24 hours ago, headline stories appeared the SecDefense should not be a retired general. In modern presidential history, appointing a retired general as SecDefense is not the norm. Putting all this together, might we see Petraeus for SecState and Romney for SecDefense? There is a bit of precedence for this. Quick: who was Bush II's SecState? Yup, a retired general officer. Who was Bush II's SecDefense? A civilian with great organizational skills. Rumsfeld did have three years Navy experience, and Romney has had none. It might be a bridge too far, but if Trump wants both men in his cabinet and he's leaning toward Petraeus this could be the grand compromise. It would also help explain the long delay in making an announcement: Mitt Romney may have to be brought up to speed on military matters before the announcement is made. (posted this date, at 9:29 a.m. Central Time.)
November 29, 2016: sources, expected to name -- Steve Mnuchin, former GS executive.
November 29, 2016: sources -- Department of Transportation -- former Labor Secretary Elaine Chao.
November 29, 2016: sources -- Trump likely to select Representative Tom Price, Georgia, for HHS. A physician; previous chairman of the Republican Study Committee and the Republican Policy Committee; currently chairman of the House Budget Committee.
November 25, 2016: Trump adds to national security team -- KT McFarland, deputy national security adviser. Campaign lawyer Donald McGahn will be White House lawyer. McFarland has an incredible resume (not surprising).
November 24, 2016: Wilbur Ross, Secretary of Commerce. Not officially announced, but apparently "confirmed."
November 23, 2016: Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education. 2nd woman chosen for his cabinet. Charter school advocate. Former Michigan Republican Party chairwoman.
November 23, 2016: Ben Carson for HUD. Very, very good move by Trump; Ben Carson very deserving. I personally don't care for Carson's views but as HUD, it's the best of both worlds. Trump rewards one of his real supporters but doesn't place him where he would be in front of the media every day. Quick: who is the current Secretary of HUD? Yeah, that's what I thought.
November 23, 2016: cabinet level position, US ambassador to the UN -- South Carolina governor, Nikki Haley.
November 18, 2016: Third position filled (non-cabinet): National Security Advisor -- Lt Gen (Ret) Mike Flynn.
November 13, 2016: First two positions filled; great choices --
- Chief of staff -- Reince Priebus, RNC chairman -- NY Times story;
- Chief strategist, senior counselor -- Steve Bannon -- NY Times story; same link; Bannon is "Breitbart" -- there was talk during the campaign that Trump was thinking of starting his own television network. Excluding the "CNN" brand, there are four major networks; three of them are clearly elite northeast/Hillary/Bill; the fourth has had a good relationship with the GOP but those ties were strained with the Trump campaign. "Breitbart" is Breitbart News. When one looks at Bannon's resume and Trump's backing -- now the backing of the president-elect -- it's hard not to imagine an "alt-right news network."
- despite its name, the primary purview of the Energy Department is to protect and manage the nation's arsenal of nuclear weapons. Despite being on the short list, Harold Hamm would not be the right choice for this position
- Interior Secretary manages the nation's public lands and water. The next secretary will decide the fate of Obama-era rules that stop public land development; curb the exploration of oil, coal, and gas; and, promote wind and solar power on public lands. Although Harold Hamm is on the short list and seems an obvious choice, it appears Jan Brewer might be more appropriate. The Interior Secretary is more than just oil and gas
- the short list for Interior Secretary is not particularly exciting (it includes the President of Lucas Oil Products (manufactures automotive lubricants) and Sarah Palin, former Alaska governor and running mate of John McCain
I would re-organize the Department of Defense under two departments, one in the traditional role as we have come to know it. But, we need to be pro-active when it comes to dealing with global terrorists -- we need to go on the offense. Strike first, strike fast.
Likewise, I would break up Department of Energy into three departments: on-shore, off-shore, and renewables; or, Department of Interior into on-shore and off-shore.
Other than a few "spaceholders" below, the list below seems pretty solid. Spaceholders are in italics.
"Most Likely" -- a dynamic list
- CIA: Mike Pompeo: only one of three that was not confirmed on inauguration day (the two that were: SecDefense Mattis and Homeland Security Kelly). Democrats found away to delay confirmation vote on Pompeo until January 23, 2017, at the earliest. it should be noted that all eight of Obama's major cabinet choices were confirmed by inaugural day. [Later, confirmed Monday, January 23, 2017.]
- EPA: Oklahoma attorney general; said to share Trump's feeling on environment -- Scott Pruitt, December 7, 2016
- WSJ, profile, December 8, 2016
- Inauguration day, White House website: all references to global warming removed
- Chief of staff: Reince Priebus, was RNC chairman
- OMB: Rep Mick Mulvaney, fiscal hawk; South Carolina, US Rep
- US Trade Representative:
- Homeland Security: retired US Marine General -- John Kelly; immigration hawk; December 7, 2016; really, really well thought of;
- US ambassador to China: Iowa Republican governor, Terry Branstad, December 7, 2016
- SBA: Linda McMahon, wrestling magnate, WWE, December 7, 2016; sworn in February 14, 2017
- NEC (National Economic Council): GS's Gary Cohn, once the heir apparent to CEO Lloyd Blankfein.
- National Security Advisor: Michael Flynn; resigned mid-February, 2017; retired U.S. Navy Vice Admiral Robert S. Harward
Others:Proposed Trump Cabinet
- Senior White House advisor: son-in-law Jared Kushner; Justice Dept says it does not violate any nepotism laws;
- Under-Secretary for Nuclear Surety: Jay Martin Cohen, retired rear admiral, US Navy
- RNC Chair: Ronna Romney McDaniel, niece of Mitt Romney; Michigan GOP chairwoman; one of the three states that put Trump over the top
- Federal Reserve: two open positions for PEOTUS to fill;
- National Security Council, Strategic Communications, Senior Director: Monica Crowley , former Fox analyst; (
Lt Gen Mike Flynn; Lt Gen Keith Kellogg -- National Security team)
- Secretary of the US Army: Vincent Viola, Army veteran, billionaire owner of the Florida Panthers;
"Most Likely" -- a dynamic list
Department of State
Actual - Rex Tillerson, former CEO of Exxon Mobil will be nominated for Secretary of State.] Based on Senate confirmation hearings if Tillerson not approved, Marco Rubio will take the blame. If Marco Rubio votes against Tillerson, so will McCain.
Confirmed: February 1, 2017, after many delays
Department of Treasury
Actual: Steve Mnuchin, former Goldman Sachs investor; Trump campaign finance manager
Confirmed: February 3, 2017, after many delays
Department of Defense
Actual: General (ret) James Mattis
Confirmed: January 20, 2017, Inauguration Day
Department of Justice
Actual -- Jim Sessions, Alabama, US Senator
Confirmed: February 8, 2017, after many delays, including an all-night speech-a-thon by the progs; 52 - 47;
Department of the Interior
Actual: Representative Ryan Zinke, MT freshman representative
Confirmed: confirmed early morning, March 1, 2017, after many delays; still four more nominees to be confirmed
Department of Commerce
Actual: Wilbur Ross, billionaire, king of bankruptcy turnaround
Confirmed: confirmed overnight, February 27, 2017, after many delays;
Department of Labor
Actual: Andy Pudzer, CEO of holding company, Carl's Jr and Arby's withdraws his name, Feb 15, 2017; new nominee -- Alex Acosta
Confirmed: confirmed just days before President Trump's 100th day in office. This was the last of the cabinet nominations.
Department of Health and Human Services
Actual: Tom Price; physician; US Congress
Confirmed: February 10, early morning, 2017, after many delays, including late-night speech-a-thon by the progs; 52 - 47; it looks like the GOP has quit making speeches; just letting the Progs talk themselves out;
Department of Housing and Urban Development
Actual: Ben Carson; neurosurgeon who grew up in government-housing
Department of Transportation
Actual: Elaine Chao, former deputy secretary transportation, under Bush II; wife of Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell
Department of Energy
Actual: Rick Perry, former governor of Texas
Confirmed: March 2, 2017, after many delays
Department of Education
Actual: Betsy DeVos; huge supporter of charter schools, home schooling
Confirmed: closest vote every; 50-50; VP Pence cast winning vote, February 7, 2017, after many delays; including an all-night speech-a-thon by the progs
Department of Agriculture
Actual: Sonny Perdue; former Georgia governor, age 70; first GOP'er to win governorship of Georgia in 130 years
Department of Veterans Affairs
Actual: David Shulkin, currently #2 at the department
Department of Homeland Security
Actual: General John F. Kelly
Confirmed: January 20, 2017, Inauguration Day
White House Chief of Staff
Actual: Reince Priebus, RNC chairman
Environmental Protection Agency
Actual: Scott Pruitt, attorney general, OK; has man lawsuits against the EPA past and pending
Confirmed: February 20, after many, many delays
US Ambassador to the UN
Actual: Nikki Haley, governor of South Carolina
Confirmed: January 24, 2017
White House Press Secretary
Actual: Sean Spicer, RNC
US Army Corps of Engineers
This may be of interest in 2017:
- Secretary of Defense: President-elect Trump will nominate General (ret) James Mattis
- US Secretary of the Army: Eric Fanning, as of May 17, 2016, appointed by the President; no fixed term
- US Under Secretary of the Army: Patrick J. Murphy, as of January 4, 2016; appointed by the President; term length -- no fixed term
- Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works): Jo-Ellen Darcy, appointed by President Obama, 2009; current activities -- cleaning out her office; updating her resume
- US Army Corps of Engineers: Lieutenant General Todd T. Semonite, assumed command May 19, 2016;
US Customs and Border ProtectionFox News, January 31, 2017:
Mark: You're Fired
Mark: You're Fired
U.S. Customs and Border Protection said on Twitter than Ronald Vitiello has been appointed to lead the agency at a time when President Donald Trump has pledged to erect a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico and add 5,000 agents from the current level of about 20,000.
The National Border Patrol Council — an early and outspoken backer of Trump's presidential bid — openly supported Vitiello for the job and pushed for the ouster of his predecessor, Mark Morgan, who resigned Thursday at the request of the new administration.
Morgan stepped down only seven months after being named the first outsider to run the agency since it was created in 1924.
Vitiello, who was most recently CBP's executive assistant commissioner for operations support, was acting Border Patrol chief when Morgan was appointed last year and had been considered a leading contender for the job then. He joined the Border Patrol more than 30 years ago and served as deputy chief in the administration of President Barack Obama