President-elect Donald Trump has announced his nominees for his incoming Presidential Cabinet. But before they can all get started with “Making America Great Again,” each nominee has to pass through a Senate Confirmation Hearing. America, meet the new bosses:
Jeff Sessions for Attorney General
Jeff Sessions is a Republican Senator from Alabama. He has been nominated by President-elect Donald Trump to be U.S. Attorney General.
Sessions was denied a federal judgeship in 1986 after former colleagues testified that he used the “n” word and said that the Ku Klux Klan was “okay” until he learned that Klan members smoked marijuana. That statement was later described as a “joke.”
On the other hand Sessions, who was elected to the senate in 1996, has also served as a U.S. attorney and attorney general for Alabama. Although he may be considered one of Trump’s more “controversial” cabinet nominees, Sessions has earned praise in the past from Democrats who worked with him.
In 2004, Sessions hosted a meeting on Capitol Hill that hosted 100 corporate and policy representatives together to learn about the Alabama Rural Initiative, an economic development plan aimed at revitalizing rural Alabama. Sessions played a role there in securing a donation from Microsoft for more than $65,000 worth of software to equip computer centers for low-income residents in Lowndes County.
Nevertheless, Sessions’ nomination is being bet with fierce opposition from groups like the ACLU and the NAACP.
Read more about resistance to Jeff Sessions here.
Retired Gen. John Kelley for Homeland Security Secretary
Retired Marine General John Kelly is a widely respected and long-serving military leader who oversaw operations in Central and South America as the commander of the U.S. Southern Command. He is president-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for Homeland Security Secretary.
Trump once praised Kelly for being “the right person to spearhead the urgent mission of stopping illegal immigration.” In 2015, Kelly told Congress that the nation was not focusing on the security threat presented by the financial and operational relationship between terrorist networks and drug smuggling organizations.
“Terrorist organizations could seek to leverage those same smuggling routes to move operatives with the intent to cause grave harm to our citizens or even bring weapons of mass destruction into the United States,” he said.
Kelly is not the only military general that Trump has chosen to lead a government organization and some have expressed concern about filling too many civilian positions with former military figures.
While Kelly has a reputation for being a respected and honorably military leader, some detractors have criticized his blunt manner and some have raised about his past comments questioning the Pentagon order opening jobs in combat units to women.
Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State
Rex Tillerson is an American businessman who worked as the chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) of ExxonMobil, the nation’s largest oil company form 2006 to 2016. Tillerson is President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee to be Secretary of State.
Tillerson has been one of the more controversial cabinet nominations for a number of reasons. Most notably, Tillerson has been criticized for his ties to Russia – further fueling the drama of the Trump-Putin saga dominated the transition period. Furthermore former Republican nominee and Arizona Sen. John McCain has been highly skeptical of Tillerson, saying “I and several of my colleagues have concerns about Mr. Tillerson and some of his past activities, specifically his relationship with Vladimir Putin.” Tillerson received the Order of Friendship from Putin in 2013.
While Tillerson is one of a few of Trump’s nominees who does not have experience working in the public sector, Trump praised Tillerson for being “the embodiment of the American Dream,” who has the “tenacity, broad experience and deep understanding of geopolitics.” As a global business leader, Tillerson has dealt with heads of state around the world, like Russia, Saudi Arabia and Yemen.
Mike Pompeo for CIA Director
Mike Pompeo is a Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Kansas and a retired Captain in the U.S. Army. Mike Pompeo is President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for CIA Director.
Pompeo was elected to the House in 2010 and serves on the House Intelligence Committee. He is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy and served as an Army cavalry officer before founding an aerospace company. Pompeo has received praise from Democratic colleagues, including California Rep. Adam Schiff who said Pompeo was “bright and hard-working.”
According to the Washington Post, some CIA veterans have expressed concern over Pompeo for his aggressively partisan stance on issues like the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya and the NSA leaks from Edward Snowden.
Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education
Betsy DeVos is an American businesswoman, philanthropist and school choice advocate. DeVos is President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Education.
DeVos has no professional experience in the education sector and no tradition experience in the formation of education policy. However, to conservatives and supporters of school choice and school voucher programs, DeVos is considered a hero. She has spent millions on programs to expand those programs around the country. Trump praised DeVos as a “brilliant and passionate education advocate,” and many conservatives tend to agree with him.
However, for those who do not endorse the idea of school vouchers and school choice, her views pose a threat the public school system as a civic institution.
Elaine Chao for Transportation Secretary
Elaine Chao is a former deputy secretary at the Transportation Department and secretary of the Labor Department. Now, Chao is President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for Transportation Secretary.
Chao was born in Taipei, Taiwan and is the first Asian American woman and first Taiwanese American in U.S. history to by appointed to a U.S. President’s Cabinet. Like her husband, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Chao has been a staple of Republicans in Washington for decades, and as the New York Times writes, “she is a savvy and professional practitioner of the capital’s inside game.”
However, her extensive experience will make her a key player during Trump’s first 100 days in office – he has repeatedly said he wants to address a large infrastructure redevelopment plan right off the bat.
Wilbur Ross for Secretary of Commerce
Wilbur Ross is President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Commerce. He’s an investment banker known for restructuring companies in challenged industries like steel, coal, telecommunications foreign investment and textiles – a reputation that led Trump to praise ross as a “champion of American manufacturing” and “one of the greatest negotiators I have ever met.” In other words, if you goal is to “make America great again,” this is probably the guy to do it.
Ross also served under U.S. President Bill Clinton on the board of the U.S.-Russia Investment Fund and later under New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani as his privatization advisor.
As has been said of Trump himself, a big businessman would almost certainly have some missteps in his past, and Ross has his fair share as well. His record of buying and restructuring broken businesses sometimes meant massive layoff and budget cuts. He is a hard-line supporter of renegotiating or withdrawing from free-trade agreements – not quite Republican orthodoxy, but certainly in line with Trump’s worldview.
Ben Carson for Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
Ben Carson is a former Republican presidential candidate and a world renowned neurosurgeon. He is President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.
Ben Carson was born in Detroit, Michigan and in his book Gifted Hands, Carson recounted growing up in a tough environment – an experience both he and Trump have said will guide his policies, should he be confirmed to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Carson was once a competitor to Trump in the 2015 Republican Primary. Carson was the only Republican presidential candidate to ever hold a lead over Trump.
Aside from his presidential ambitions, Carson has no other experience holding political office or in public policy or even housing issues – causing many to question how he would guide the Department of Housing and Urban Development should he be confirmed on Thursday, January 11.
Retired Gen. James Mattis for Secretary of Defense
Retired Marine Gen. James “Mad Dog” Mattis is a highly respected and highly experienced military leader, having served for more than four decades in the U.S. Marine Corps, including as the chief of the U.S. Central Command. Mattis is President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Defense.
Along with the nickname “Mad Dog” he is also known as “The Warrior Monk” because of his reputation of being an extremely well read and thoughtful moral leader. Mattis is known to make blunt remarks – which at times has gotten him into trouble.
Mattis retired from the military in 2013, which means in order to lead the Pentagon, he would need a special waiver from Congress to allow him to bypass a federal law that disqualifies military personnel who served on active duty in the in the previous seven years from becoming defense secretary.
Andrew Puzder for Secretary of Labor
Andrew Puzder is the chief executive of CKE restaurants, the parent company of Carl’s Jr., Hardees, Green Burrito and Red Burrito. He is President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Labor.
Puzder is a frequent commenter and author on economic and legal issues in The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, the Hill, Politico, Lou Dobbs Tonight, the O’Reilly Factor and many others. In 2011 he also contributed to Believe in America, Mitt Romney’s Plan for Jobs and Economic Growth. He was an Economic Adviser and a spokesman for Romney’s 2012 campaign for President.
Trump praised Puzder by saying he has “created and boosted the careers of thousands of Americans.”
Puzder is opposed to the Affordable Care Act, federal rules that would make more American workers eligible for overtime pay and substantially raising the minimum wage.