Updates on named Cabinet positions as they become available
Click on the Cabinet position below to see information about the person chosen
- Vice President – Mike Pence
- Secretary of State – Rex Tillerson
- Secretary of the Treasury – Steven Mnuchin
- Secretary of Defense – Retired Marine General James (Mad Dog) Mattis
- Attorney General – Jeff Sessions
- Secretary of the Interior – Ryan Zinke
- Secretary of Agriculture
- Secretary of Commerce – Wilbur Ross
- Secretary of Labor – Andrew Puzder
- Secretary of Health and Human Services – Tom Price
- Secretary of Housing and Urban Development – Dr. Ben Carson
- Secretary of Transportation – Elaine L. Chao
- Secretary of Energy – Rick Perry
- Secretary of Education – Betsy DeVos
- Secretary of Veterans Affairs
- Secretary of Homeland Security – John Kelly
- White House Chief of Staff – Reince Priebus
- Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency – Scott Pruitt
- Director of the Office of Management and Budget – Mick Mulvaney
- Ambassador of the United States Trade Representative
- Ambassador of the United States Mission to the United Nations – Nikki Haley
- Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors
- Administrator of Small Business Administration – Linda McMahon
- Directorof the Central Intelligence Agency (C.I.A.) – Mike Pompeo
- Chief Strategist – Steve Bannon
- National Security Advisor – Michael Flynn
- Ambassador to Israel – David Friedman
Vice President – Mike Pence
Secretary of State – Rex Tillerson
Requires Senate confirmation
The State Department is the centerpiece of the post-1945 experiment of alliance-building and globalism, which Donald Trump said he would dismantle.
The Specific Duties of the Secretary of State:
- Organizes and supervises the whole community United States Department of State and the United States Foreign Service
- Advises the President on matters relating to U.S. foreign policy including the appointment of diplomatic representatives to other nations and on the acceptance or dismissal of representatives from other nations
- Participates in high-level negotiations with other countries, either bilaterally or as part of an international conference or organization or appoints representatives to do so including negotiation of international treaties and other agreements
- Responsible for overall direction, coordination, and supervision of interdepartmental activities of the U.S. Government overseas
- Providing information and services to U.S. citizens living or traveling abroad, including providing credentials in the form of passports and visas
- Ensures the protection of the U.S. Government to American citizens, property, and interests in foreign countries
- Supervises the United States immigration policy abroad
- Communicates issues relating the United States foreign policy to Congress and to U.S. citizens
In a Nutshell
- Serves as chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) of Exxon Mobil Corporation, the world’s sixth largest company by revenue
- Holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Texas at Austin
- In 2006, Tillerson was elected chairman and chief executive officer of Exxon
- Has close ties with President Vladimir Putin of Russia
- Was awarded the Order of Friendship, one of the highest honors Russia gives to foreign citizens
- Signed a deal to develop oil fields in the autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan, in defiance of Iraqi law in 2011
- Oversaw lucrative business operations in partnership with abusive and corrupt oil-rich governments
- His company has opposed US laws requiring stronger human rights standards and greater financial transparency in such countries
- ExxonMobil has a long history of peddling misinformation on climate change
- Has come out in support of the Paris climate agreement
- Has “disparaged and downplayed the science on climate change
- Favors a carbon tax
- Opposed to sanctions against Russia
- With sanctions against Russia, imposed for its annexation of Crimea, ExxonMobil said it stood to lose up to $1 billion because of sanctions on Russia, and it would likely gain if those sanctions were lifted. It is of no surprise to anyone that Tillerson is opposed to these sanctions.
- Supports the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)
- Expressed his impatience with government regulation
- His nomination was reportedly being advocated by Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner
- Net worth $150 Million
Rex Tillerson is an American engineer and businessman. Tillerson is the chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) of Exxon Mobil Corporation, the world’s sixth largest company by revenue. He holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. Tillerson joined Exxon in 1975 and by 1989 had become general manager of the Exxon USA central production division. He became President of Exxon Yemen Inc. and Esso Exploration and Production Khorat Inc. in 1995. In 2006, Tillerson was elected chairman and chief executive officer of Exxon.
Washington (CNN) Boosters of Donald Trump’s candidate to be the next secretary of state talk about his experience leading one of the world’s largest companies — and so do his detractors.
Fans of ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson say running a global energy company equips the 64-year-old with the management tools needed to represent the US abroad. Skeptics say a closer look at that experience raises questions about conflicts of interest and whether the nominee would put US or corporate interests first. The criticism is bipartisan, with both Republicans and Democrats voicing reservations about the Texan. Scientists, human rights activists, and environmental groups also raised concerns Tuesday at the news of Tillerson’s nomination.
What’s their problem? They have a few. Here’s a look:
Ties with Russia
Tillerson has close ties with President Vladimir Putin of Russia. They have been associates since Tillerson represented Exxon’s interests in Russia during President Boris Yeltsin’s premiership. John Hamre, the President and CEO of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, of which Tillerson is a board member, states that Tillerson “has had more interactive time with Vladimir Putin than probably any other American, with the exception of Dr. Henry Kissinger.”
Leak reveals Rex Tillerson was director of Bahamas-based US-Russian oil firm
Sunday 18 December 2016 – Rex Tillerson, our new Secretary of State, was the long-time director of a US-Russian oil firm based in the tax haven of the Bahamas, leaked documents show.
Tillerson – the chief executive of ExxonMobil – became a director of the oil company’s Russian subsidiary, Exxon Neftegas, in 1998. His name – RW Tillerson – appears next to other officers who are based at Houston, Texas; Moscow; and Sakhalin, in Russia’s far east.
The leaked 2001 document comes from the corporate registry in the Bahamas. It was one of 1.3m files given to the Germany newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung by an anonymous source. The registry is public but details of individual directors are typically incomplete or missing entirely.
Though there is nothing untoward about this directorship, it has not been reported before and is likely to raise fresh questions over Tillerson’s relationship with Russia ahead of a potentially stormy confirmation hearing by the US senate foreign relations committee.
This will likely be the biggest hurdle to clear in confirmation hearings. Tillerson has spearheaded ExxonMobil partnerships with a Russian energy company with ties to President Vladimir Putin, who has given him Russia’s Order of Friendship, the highest honor for a non-citizen.
ExxonMobil has worked with the State Department on international projects and several career diplomats said the CEO’s wealth of international experience could be a welcome change in US diplomacy. Others pointed out that some of Tillerson’s positions might balance out Trump opinions that aren’t popular at State. ExxonMobil has begun to support the Paris climate agreement and some diplomats said Tillerson’s support might sway Trump, who is a skeptic.
Tillerson has also spoken about the possibility of doing business with Iran, which would support the nuclear deal with Tehran. But there are other grounds for concern, Tillerson’s critics say.
Ties with Kurdistan
In 2011, Tillerson, on behalf of ExxonMobil, signed a deal to develop oil fields in the autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan. The agreement was in defiance of Iraqi law, which forbids companies from dealing directly with Iraqi Kurdistan.
Trump campaigned hard on the promise that he would “drain the swamp” and target “global special interests” that partner with “corrupt” Washington politicians to rob “our working class.”
Yet Tillerson was recommended to Trump by three former government heavyweights: former Secretaries of State James Baker and Condoleezza Rice and former Defense Secretary Robert Gates. All three, after their government careers, have benefited financially from ExxonMobil contracts.
ExxonMobil has a stated policy of promoting human rights, but under Tillerson it has nevertheless worked in close partnership with repressive regimes, critics say.
Promoting human rights has been a pillar of US foreign policy, as — beyond any moral imperative — repression often leads to rebellion, which can destabilize countries, regions and trade. While US administrations can have no choice but to deal with repressive regimes, they usually emphasize the need to honor human rights in private diplomatic exchanges, if not publicly.
“Tillerson oversaw lucrative business operations in partnership with abusive and corrupt oil-rich governments such as Equitorial Guinea and Angola,” said Sarah Margon, Washington director for Human Rights Watch. Under Tillerson, the company has opposed US laws requiring stronger human rights standards and greater financial transparency in such countries, HRW said.
In 2012, Tillerson’s compensation package was $40.5 million. It was $28.1 million in 2013, $33.1 million in 2014, and $27.2 million in 2015.
Opposition to Sanctions
Tillerson has stated that “We do not support sanctions, generally, because we don’t find them to be effective unless they are very well implemented comprehensively and that’s a very hard thing to do.”
Lawmakers are wary of Tillerson’s opposition to sanctions against Russia, imposed for its annexation of Crimea. In regulatory filings, ExxonMobil said it stood to lose up to $1 billion because of sanctions on Russia. And it would likely gain if those sanctions were lifted.
Climate Change and Carbon Taxing
As has been copiously documented, ExxonMobil has a long history of peddling misinformation on climate change. Lengthy investigations last year by the Los Angeles Times and Inside Climate News revealed that, in the nineteen-seventies and eighties, the company – then just Exxon – conducted its own extensive research on the subject. Its scientists found that the continued burning of fossil fuels would indeed alter the climate dramatically, and warned that “there are some potentially catastrophic events that must be considered.” But instead of considering the possibility of catastrophe – or perhaps in spite of such consideration – the company discontinued its own research efforts and began to try to undermine those of others. Behind the scenes, it attacked the work of government scientists and donated generously to groups that did the same. In public, it promoted the notion that climate change was a matter of debate.
In 2010, Tillerson said that while he acknowledged that humans were affecting the climate through greenhouse gas emissions to some degree, it was not yet clear “to what extent and therefore what can you do about it.”
Tillerson also stated, “The world is going to have to continue using fossil fuels, whether they like it or not.”
And then there’s ExxonMobil’s track record on climate change. While the company has come out in support of the Paris climate agreement, environmental groups have charged that the corporation for decades covered up knowledge of the link between fossil fuels and climate change, funded climate denial and caused man-made catastrophes like the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska in 1989.
The US military considers climate change an element of national security because it can intensify security challenges. As Secretary of State, Tillerson would represent the US in international climate talks, such as the 2015 Paris agreement signed by 200 nations.
Tillerson has “disparaged and downplayed the science on climate change, and his company is even currently under investigation for defrauding the public and shareholders for decades about the dangers of climate change caused by fossil fuels,” said Ken Kimmel, president of the Union of Concerned Scientists.
Tillerson stated in 2009 that he favors a carbon tax as “the most efficient means of reflecting the cost of carbon in all economic decisions—from investments made by companies to fuel their requirements to the product choices made by consumers.”
Support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)
In 2013, Tillerson outlined his support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), stating at the Global Security Forum: “One of the most promising developments on this front is the ongoing effort for the Trans-Pacific Partnership. . . The 11 nations that have been working to lower trade barriers and end protectionist policies under this partnership are a diverse mix of developed and developing economies. But all of them understand the value of open markets to growth and progress for every nation.”
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Tillerson expressed his impatience with government regulation, stating “there are a thousand ways you can be told ‘no’ in this country.”
In September 2013, Tillerson wrote an op-ed piece in The Wall Street Journal defending Common Core.
Secretary of State Consideration
Rex Tillerson was first recommended to Trump for the Secretary of State role by Condoleezza Rice and was backed up by Robert Gates, three days later. Media speculation that he was being considered for the position began on December 5, 2016. On December 9, transition officials reported that Tillerson was the top candidate for the position surpassing Mitt Romney and David Petraeus. His nomination was reportedly being advocated by Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner.
Light Resume on Diplomacy
Concern about Tillerson’s views on sanctions, human rights and climate change feed into broader questions about whether his lifetime career at Exxon Mobil and the corporate focus on profit are the best preparation for being the top US diplomat.
“The fact is, the art of diplomacy entails much more than the ability to strike a good deal,” said New Jersey Senator, Robert Menendez. “Striking a business deal where profits are the only end goal is fundamentally different than being tasked with forging lasting peace accords across the world, protecting America’s national security and interests, and defining our response and role to an international crisis.”
Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy, a Democrat, said it was a question of priorities: “There is no doubt Rex Tillerson is a successful businessman and a very smart person,” Murphy said, “but he has proven, many times, his willingness to put oil profits before national interests and handing him the keys of US foreign policy is a recipe for disaster.”
Secretary of the Treasury – Steven Mnuchin
Requires Senate confirmation
The secretary will be responsible for government borrowing in financial markets, assisting in any rewrite of the tax code and overseeing the Internal Revenue Service. The Treasury Department also carries out or lifts financial sanctions against foreign enemies.
In a Nutshell
- Attended Yale University
- Spent 17 years at Goldman Sachs
- Started the mortgage department at Goldman Sachs and became a full partner, leaving with millions in stock and cash
- Founded Dune Capital Management and while CEO invested in Trump’s properties.
- Purchased failed IndyMac via bankruptcy, renamed it OneWest and began foreclosing. The NYT calls these foreclosures “questionable.”
- Refused to lend money to people in minority neighborhoods
- Sold OneWest for $3.4 billion
- Became a symbol of Wall Street recklessness – foreclosing more than twice what other comparable firms did at the time
- Foreclosed on a 90 year old woman over a dispute of 27cents
- Contributed over $400,000 to the Republican Party and $4000 to two Democrats, all in 2016
- Financed several excellent films in Hollywood
- Plans to reduce corporate taxes to 15%, cut taxes for the middle class, and simplify the tax system
- Believes in trade deals with individual countries, as opposed to regional trade deals
- Wants less regulations on banks
- Calls the stripping back of Dodd–Frank “the number one priority on the regulatory side” because it prevented banks from lending
- Has a net worth of $40 million
In 1985, shortly after graduating from Yale University, Mnuchin started working for Goldman Sachs. He started at the mortgage department, and became a partner in 1994.
He left Goldman Sachs in 2002 after 17 years of employment with an estimated $46 million of its stock and $12.6 million that he received in the months prior to his departure.
In 2004, he founded a hedge fund, Dune Capital Management, with support of business magnate George Soros and served as its CEO. The firm invested in at least two of Donald Trump’s projects, and in one of them was sued by Trump before a settlement was reached.
In 2005, Mnuchin was the CEO of a branch of the hedge fund Soros Fund Management, which was founded by Soros. At that company, he mainly provided loans to troubled companies.
In 2009 (in partnership with George Soros, hedge fund manager John Paulson and others) Mnuchin bought the failed housing lender IndyMac for $1.6 billion. The bank, purchased out of bankruptcy from the FDIC, was renamed OneWest, with Mnuchin as chair.
According to The New York Times, OneWest “was involved in a string of lawsuits over questionable foreclosures, and settled several cases for millions of dollars.” Furthermore, fair-housing groups filed complaints to the federal government because they claimed the company did not meet its legal obligation to lend money to people in minority neighborhoods. OneWest was sold to CIT Group by Mnuchin in 2015 for $3.4 billion after he had rebuild it, which was twice as much as Mnuchin paid for the bank in 2009. Note: As of August 2016, Mnuchin owned $97 million in CIT Group stock, most of which he received in exchange for his stake in OneWest.
Mnuchin became a target of consumer activists in 2009, after he and his partners bought IndyMac. The company had specialized in high-risk loans, including so-called liar loans to borrowers with no money or income, and had become a symbol of the Wall Street recklessness that had sent the country into recession and millions of homeowners into default.
And the foreclosures came, 36,000 of them by one estimate. So far, losses under the deal have mounted to $4.6 billion. The FDIC has paid the bank $1.2 billion, according to agency data.
According to The New York Times, OneWest “was involved in a string of lawsuits over questionable foreclosures, and settled several cases for millions of dollars.” Furthermore, fair-housing groups filed complaints to the federal government, because they claimed the company did not meet its legal obligation to lend money to people in minority neighborhoods.
The California Reinvestment Coalition (CRC), which opposed CIT Group’s acquisition of OneWest, submitted a request to the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to learn more about OneWest’s reverse mortgage subsidiary, Financial Freedom. According to the HUD’s response, Financial Freedom foreclosed on 16,220 federally insured reverse mortgages from April 2009 to April 2016. This represents about 39% of all federally insured reverse mortgage foreclosures during that time. The figure was criticized by CRC, who estimated that Financial Freedom only serviced about 17% of the market and therefore, they were foreclosing more than twice often than their competitors.
OneWest Forecloses On A 90 Year Old Woman Over 27 Cents
In Lakeland, Fl., Mnuchin’s company, OneWest, filed foreclosure papers on the home of Ossie Lofton, a 90-year-old woman, who had taken a reverse mortgage, a loan that supplies cash to elderly homeowners and doesn’t require monthly payments.
After confusion over insurance coverage, a OneWest subsidiary sent Lofton a bill for $423.30. She sent a check for $423. The bank sent another bill, for 30 cents. Lofton, 90, sent a check for three cents. In November 2014, the bank foreclosed over 27 cents
A Side Business
In 2004, he founded RatPac-Dune Entertainment as a side business, which was the financier of a number of notable films, including the X-Men film franchise and Avatar.
In Hollywood, Mnuchin, (along with film producer Brett Ratner and financier James Packer working with RatPac-Dune Entertainment) produced American Sniper and Mad Max: Fury Road. Mnuchin was co-chairman of the trio’s movie company, Relativity Media, but left before it went bankrupt.
Before being part of the Trump administration, Mnuchin had been involved in politics only by donating money to campaigns. Between 1995 and 2014, he had donated over $120,000 to political organizations, PACs, politicians, and political parties. From his donations to individual politicians, eleven donations went to Republicans, while he contributed to Democrats 36 times. Al Gore, Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, Barack Obama, and Mitt Romney were among the politicians he donated money to.
From the end of June to the end of September 2016, Mnuchin made a number of contributions to the Republican Party, Donald Trump, and Paul Ryan. He donated over $400,000 to the Republican Party, over $5,000 to Paul Ryan’s campaign, and the same amount to Donald Trump’s campaign. Earlier that year, Mnuchin had donated $4,000 to Democrats Kamala Harris and Michael Wildes according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Mnuchin had been an early supporter of Trump, and attended his victory party after the New York Republican primary victory on April 19, 2016. He was called the following day by Trump, who asked him if he wanted to be the national finance chairman of his campaign and Mnuchin.
In November 2016, Mnuchin was reported to be Trump’s choice to be U.S. Secretary of the Treasury. Trump announced it on his website on November 30 that Mnuchin would be his choice to be U.S. Secretary of the Treasury. Liberal groups condemned the move, as they argued that Mnuchin made money out of the financial crisis by “aggressively [foreclosing] on tens of thousands of families as the CEO of OneWest. The New York Times noted that Mnuchin’s selection “fits uneasily with much of Mr. Trump’s campaign attacks on the financial industry.” For example, an ad of Trump’s campaign said Goldman Sachs’ CEO had “robbed [the] working class.”
In an interview in November on CNBC Mnuchin called it the Trump administration’s job to “make sure that the average American has wage increases and good jobs.” Furthermore, he said his priority was getting a sustained growth of GDP of three or four percent. He said in order to get there “our number one priority is tax reform.” Mnuchin said he would reduce corporate taxes to 15%, cut taxes for the middle class, and simplify the tax system. When asked about trade, he said he believed in trade deals with individual countries, as opposed to regional trade deals. He said he wants to “strip back parts of Dodd–Frank,” because he argued it was too complicated, and it prevented banks from lending. He called the stripping back of Dodd–Frank “the number one priority on the regulatory side.”
In 1999, Mnuchin married Heather deForest Crosby, who was his second wife. They had three children together. A year after the marriage, Mnuchin bought an apartment in New York City for $10.5 million. They divorced in 2014. He is engaged to the actress Louise Linton, and they live in a $26.5 million house that he owns in Bel Air, California.
Secretary of Defense – Retired Marine General James (Mad Dog) Mattis
Requires Senate confirmation
Mattis’ confirmation by the Senate is not assured. Only three years out of uniform, he would also need a Congressional waiver for a 1947 law that requires a seven year wait.
The incoming secretary will shape the fight against the Islamic State while overseeing a military that is struggling to put in place two Obama-era initiatives: integrating women into combat roles and allowing transgender people to serve openly. Both could be rolled back.
Trump Picks Tough Talking Gen. James ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis as Secretary of Defense
Dec 2, 2016
Donald Trump has chosen retired Marine Gen. James Mattis to head the Department of Defense, a move that could signal the incoming administration’s tougher positioning with nations such as Iran.
“We are going to appoint ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis as our Secretary of Defense,” Trump said theatrically.
The next possible US Secretary of Defense went by the military call sign “Chaos.”
Mattis is a tough talking retired Marine general who during the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 famously led the 1st Marine Division’s rapid drive into Baghdad. Among his peers, Mattis has a reputation as a blunt military strategist.
During a 2005 panel discussion in San Diego, Mattis once said that he enjoyed “brawling” and enjoyed killing the enemy in war.
“Actually it’s quite fun to fight them, you know. It’s a hell of a hoot,” Mattis said. “It’s fun to shoot some people. I’ll be right up there with you. I like brawling.”
Mattis, a former commander of U.S. Central Command, which covers the Middle East, is considered a hardliner on Iran.
He once accused “the highest levels” of the Iranian government of being involved in an assassination plot against the Saudi ambassador at a Washington, D.C. restaurant.
He is considered a “warrior monk,” who thinks deeply about military strategy. He once told his Marines “The most important six inches on the battlefield is between your ears.”
Senator John McCain, R-Ariz., who serves as the Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said he was “pleased that the President-elect has selected General James Mattis to be his nominee for Secretary of Defense.”
“As Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I look forward to moving forward with the confirmation process as soon as possible in the new Congress,” McCain said in a statement Thursday night. “I have had the privilege of knowing General Mattis for many years,” he added. “He is without a doubt one of the finest military officers of his generation and an extraordinary leader who inspires a rare and special admiration of his troops.”
The law stands in support of a critical principle: that our armed forces must always be subordinate to the will of civilians. It’s a bedrock foundation of any democracy. The last thing we need is to send a signal that we’re unshackling the military from centuries of civilian control.
Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the ranking member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, strongly endorsed Mattis, saying he admired his service, knowledge, experience and leadership.”
But Schiff also urged careful consideration of waiving the 1947 law, given “the precedent we would be setting and the impact it would have on the principle of civilian leadership of our nation’s military.”
New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a ranking member on the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Personnel, came out against voting for an exception for Mattis in a statement Thursday evening.
“While I deeply respect General Mattis’s service, I will oppose a waiver,” she said. “Civilian control of our military is a fundamental principle of American democracy, and I will not vote for an exception to this rule.”
While the filibuster for cabinet appointees was eliminated a few years ago, meaning a nominee can be confirmed with just 50 votes in the Senate, the waiver Mattis requires is subject to a filibuster. Just one senator can demand that the waiver for Mattis meet a 60-vote threshold, meaning he would need to get the support of all Republicans and eight Democrats to move toward confirmation next year.
Some observers question whether Mattis’ battlefield experience prepares him for the very different task of running an enormous bureaucracy, while senior lawmakers worry about what the 66-year-old’s nomination means for maintaining civilian control of the military.
Human Rights Watch called on Congress to fully examine his views on a number of issues.
“Media accounts suggest that Gen. Mattis doesn’t agree with President-elect Trump’s more outrageous campaign proposals, such as bringing back waterboarding, targeting terrorist suspects’ family members, or tampering with anti-torture laws,” said Washington director Sarah Margon.
She urged that during the confirmation process “senators make sure Mattis unreservedly repudiates these proposals, acknowledges that they are illegal, and confirms that they are not up for future consideration.”
General Mattis Accused of Delaying Aid to Wounded Soldiers
Dec 2, 2016
A former Army Special Forces officer is accusing General Mattis of “leaving my men to die” after they were hit by friendly fire in Afghanistan in 2001.
Mattis has not commented publicly on the incident, which was chronicled in a 2011 New York Times bestselling book, “The Only Thing Worth Dying For,” by Eric Blehm. The book portrays Mattis as stubbornly unwilling to help the Green Berets.
His actions, which were not formally investigated at the time, are now likely to get far more scrutiny during the retired general’s Senate confirmation process.
Trump’s transition team did not respond to request for comment from NBC News. Nor did Mattis.
On December 5, 2001, a team of Army Green Berets accompanying Hamid Karzai, the future president of Afghanistan, was hit by a U.S. smart bomb in a case of friendly fire.
Two American soldiers died instantly and a third was badly wounded. He would later die, though it is unclear whether that soldier would have survived had a rescue team arrived more quickly. Dozens of Afghans also were killed, and the CIA officer who now runs the agency’s spying arm protected Karzai with his body.
Mattis, then a brigadier general commanding a nearby group of Marines, refused repeated requests to send helicopters to rescue the Green Berets, people involved in the operation tell NBC News. The helicopters under Mattis’ command at Camp Rhino were about 45 minutes away, according to the book.
And, as commander, Mattis had final approval for the decision not to dispatch a rescue mission from there.
“He was indecisive and betrayed his duty to us, leaving my men to die during the golden hour when he could have reached us,” Jason Amerine, who led the Army special forces operation as a captain, said.
“Every element in Afghanistan tried to help us except the closest friendly unit, commanded by Mattis,” added Amerine, who retired as a lieutenant colonel and made news in recent years as a prominent critic of the Obama administration’s hostage policies.
The 15th anniversary of the Afghanistan friendly fire incident is Monday. Master Sgt. Jefferson Donald Davis, 39; Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Henry Petithory, 32; and Staff Sgt. Brian Cody Prosser, 28, were killed.
Ultimately, an Air Force Special Forces unit based three hours away, in Pakistan, sent older helicopters to rescue Amerine and his men. Three more Afghans and a badly-wounded American, Brian Cody Prosser, died on the way to the hospital, according to the book. It is not known whether any of them could have been saved.
Mattis declined to be interviewed for the book, Blehm, its author, told NBC News. Other witnesses quoted Mattis saying that he didn’t want to send a rescue mission into an uncertain situation.
According to witness accounts in the book, Mattis reportedly questioned why a rescue mission was needed and worried about whether the situation on the ground was secure.
Later, when a special forces Sergeant, David Lee, protested his decision, Mattis threw him out of his office.
The Obama administration was criticized for years by many Republicans – including Vice President-elect Mike Pence – for failing to mount a military rescue when a diplomatic post was attacked in 2012 in Benghazi, Libya, despite military officials saying no rescue was possible.
In this case, another military unit had to act because Mattis did not, Blehm said.
“The Air Force Special Operations Command had the same exact information as Mattis. They launched immediately,” he said.
Blehm spent three years researching the book, including a long interview with Karzai, he told NBC News.
He interviewed six of the surviving eleven Green Berets involved in the operation.
“Every one of them said, when they were [in] this mass casualty situation, either wounded [or] tending to the wounded of their buddies, every one of them were thinking, where in the hell are the Marines?”
In his Facebook post, Amerine said it was ironic that Mattis later became famous for relieving a battalion commander for alleged indecisiveness during the invasion of Iraq in 2003.
“The delay of Mattis in launching MEDEVAC on December 5th was never in question, not even by him,” Amerine said. “The only debate was whether it was justified and how many died as a result.”
Attorney General – Jeff Sessions
Requires Senate confirmation
The nation’s top law enforcement official will have the authority for carrying out Mr. Trump’s “law and order” platform. The nominee can change how civil rights laws are enforced.
In a Nutshell:
- Opposed the Violence Against Women Act
- Voted YES on constitutional ban of same-sex marriage
- Voted against protections against clinic violence
- Supported the unconstitutional 20-week abortion ban
- Voted two years in a row against bipartisan legislation to curb military sexual assault
- Claimed it’s not sexual assault to “grab a woman by the pussy”
- Voted to defund planned parenthood
- Determined by a GOP-led Senate to be too racist to become a federal judge
- Is known for his hardline stances on both illegal and legal immigration.
- Opposed nearly every immigration bill that has come before the Senate the past two decades that has included a path to citizenship for immigrants in the country illegally
- Fought legal immigration, including guest worker programs for immigrants in the country illegally
- Fought visa programs for foreign workers in science, math and high-tech
- Got a bill passed in 2007 that essentially banned for 10 years federal contractors who hire illegal immigrants
- Voted NO on adding sexual orientation to definition of hate crimes
- Voted NO on expanding hate crimes to include sexual orientation
- Voted NO on setting aside 10% of highway funds for minorities & women
- Voted YES on ending special funding for minority & women-owned business
- Voted YES on increasing penalties for drug offenses
- Voted NO on shifting $11B from corporate tax loopholes to education
- Voted NO on reinstating $1.15 billion funding for the COPS Program
- Voted NO on $1.15 billion per year to continue the COPS program
- Voted NO on expanding the Children’s Health Insurance Program
- Voted NO on adding 2 to 4 million children to SCHIP eligibility (State Children’s Health Insurance Programs)
- Voted NO on background checks at gun shows
- Voted YES on loosening license & background checks at gun shows
Jeff Sessions has served as a senator from Alabama for two decades. He is a strong proponent of strict immigration enforcement, reduced spending and tough-on-crime measures.
He is known for touring Alabama with charts warning of the United States’ “crippling” debt
On foreign policy, he has advocated a get-tough approach, once voting against an amendment banning “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment” of prisoners.
Sessions is a climate change skeptic. In a 2015 hearing questioning Environmental Protection Agency’s Gina McCarthy, he said: “Carbon pollution is CO2, and that’s really not a pollutant; that’s a plant food, and it doesn’t harm anybody except that it might include temperature increases.”
He has earned a reputation for being a racist and an anti-woman extremist.
His career was almost derailed because of accusations of racism. In 1986, a Senate committee denied Sessions, then a 39-year-old U.S. attorney in Alabama, a federal judgeship. His former colleagues testified Sessions used the n-word and joked about the Ku Klux Klan, saying he thought they were “okay, until he learned that they smoked marijuana.” This is very likely to become an issue as he faces another set of Senate confirmation hearings.
His mix of hardline immigration position and a populist streak had made him a tea party star.
In 2015, Sessions sent an “immigration handbook” to Republican members of Congress. In it, he calls immigration reform “a legislative honorific almost exclusively reserved for proposals which benefit everyone but actual American citizens.”
In that handbook and since, Sessions has fought against what he sees as the abuse of the program. In his handbook he uses statistics suggesting that guest workers make up two-thirds of all new IT hires, while half of Americans with STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematic] degrees can’t find work. He says that while the cap is 85,000, the real number is much higher – “somewhere in the range of 650,000 to 750,000.”
As hardline as Sessions can be, he’s worked with Democrats before. Even people who have run against him have nice things to say about him. Sessions has joined with Democrats to support criminal justice reform legislation like reducing the disparity between sentence time for crack and powder cocaine. Civil rights advocates say more recently that he opposed a bipartisan criminal justice reform package that in part reduced federal sentences.
There are two positions that could put him at odds with Donald Trump: Trump has expensive plans that involve significant spending, like $1 trillion on an infrastructure program — and he campaigned on a strong noninterventionist worldview (often claiming, inaccurately, that he opposed the Iraq War before it started).
Secretary of the Interior – Ryan Zinke
Requires Senate confirmation
The Interior Department manages the nation’s public lands and waters. 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.
In a Nutshell:
- served as state senator in Montana
- is a former Navy Seal whose career was stalled after he was caught abusing travel expenses; he had been in charge of preventing such abuses
- is pro-drilling
- is in favor of mining public lands
- doesn’t believe that climate change is a “proven science
Secretary of Agriculture –
Requires Senate confirmation
The agriculture secretary oversees America’s farming industry, inspects food quality and provides income-based food assistance. The department also helps develop international markets for American products, giving the next secretary partial responsibility to carry out Mr. Trump’s positions on trade.
Secretary of Commerce – Wilbur Ross
Requires Senate confirmation
The Commerce Department has been a perennial target for budget cuts, but the secretary oversees a diverse portfolio, including the census, the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
In a Nutshell:
- is a billionaire investor who has a lot of divesting to do (over eighty assets and funds) before assuming the job
- Like Trump, he thinks a lot of the government’s trade deals need renegotiating
- has supported tariffs on China
Secretary of Labor – Andrew Puzder
Requires Senate confirmation
The Labor Department enforces rules that protect the nation’s workers, distributes benefits to the unemployed and publishes economic data like the monthly jobs report. The new secretary will be in charge of keeping Mr. Trump’s promise to dismantle many Obama-era rules covering the vast work force of federal contractors.
In a Nutshell:
Secretary of Health and Human Services – on Tuesday, Nov 28, 2016, Donald Trump has selected Georgia Representative Tom Price, an ardent critic of Obamacare, to head the Department of Health and Human Services
Requires Senate confirmation
The secretary will help Mr. Trump achieve one of his central campaign promises: to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. The department approves new drugs, regulates the food supply, operates biomedical research, and runs Medicare and Medicaid, which insure more than 100 million people.
In a Nutshell:
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development – Donald Trump has selected Dr. Ben Carson for Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
Requires Senate confirmation
The secretary oversees fair-housing laws, the development of affordable housing and access to mortgage insurance.
Ben Carson has been selected by Trump for the Cabinet position of Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. With no experience in government or running a large bureaucracy, Ben Carson publicly hesitated over whether to join the administration. In November 2016, he turned down the offer to be Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. His business manager, Armstrong Williams, said last month (November 2016) that Carson had decided not to serve in Trump’s administration because “his life has not prepared him to be a Cabinet secretary.” Now he will oversee an agency with a $47 billion budget. He brings to the job a philosophical opposition to government programs that encourage what he calls “dependency” and engage in “social engineering.” In November of 2015, Trump tweeted this about Ben Carson: “With Ben Carson wanting to hit his mother on head with a hammer, stab a friend, and Pyramids built for grain storage – don’t people get it?”
The Secretary of Housing and Urban Development oversees federal public housing programs and helps formulate policy on homelessness and housing discrimination. The housing secretary also oversees programs that administer mortgage insurance to prospective homeowners and give rental subsidies to lower-income families. As is the case with all cabinet secretaries, Carson needs to be confirmed by the Senate.
And just in case you haven’t been paying attention, here are some things Ben Carson has said:
In a 1998 commencement speech delivered by Carson at Andrews University, he said: “My own personal theory is that Joseph built the pyramids to store grain,” And when asked about this on a Wednesday in early Nov 2015, Carson told CBS News, “It’s still my belief, yes.”
He has also said that:
Women who get abortions are like slaveholders
Abortion should be outlawed in all circumstances, including in cases of rape and incest.
Obamacare is the worst thing since slavery
‘Hitler’ could happen in the U.S. today
Jews could have prevented the Holocaust if they had guns
College campuses should be monitored for liberal political speech
Muslims should be disqualified from the presidency
“There is no war on women . . . There may be a war on what’s inside of women, but there is no war on women in this country.”
Being gay is a choice because prison turns people gay
There’s no such thing as a war crime
Congress should be able to remove judges for voting for marriage equality
The Big Bang is a “fairy tale”
The notion of evolution was encouraged by the devil
There is no global warming
He doesn’t see any racism
Planned Parenthood is a plot to kill black babies
These are all fact based and can be all backed up with sources.
Some people’s admiration for Ben Carson is based solely on their perception of him. They obviously have no idea who he is. But what he stands for and what he believes in should give you a better idea of who he is. Sure he was a gifted brain surgeon, but his thought process is a bit off the rails and it brings into question his being chosen for any position of leadership in any Cabinet. He seems to be the proof that education offers no guard against irrational thinking.
Secretary of Transportation – Elaine L. Chao
Requires Senate confirmation
The Office of the Secretary (OST) oversees the formulation of national transportation policy and promotes intermodal transportation. Other responsibilities range from negotiation and implementation of international transportation agreements, assuring the fitness of US airlines, enforcing airline consumer protection regulations, issuance of regulations to prevent alcohol and illegal drug misuse in transportation systems and preparing transportation legislation.
In a nutshell:
Secretary of Energy – Rick Perry
Requires Senate confirmation
Despite its name, the primary purpose of the Energy Department is to protect and manage the nation’s arsenal of nuclear weapons.
In a nutshell:
Secretary of Education – On Wednesday, November 23, 2016, Donald Trump announced his plan to nominate Betsy DeVos.
Requires Senate confirmation
Donald Trump has said he wants to drastically shrink the Education Department and shift responsibilities for curriculum research, development and educational aid to state and local governments.
In a Nutshell
- No Education Degree
- No teaching Experience
- No experience working in a school environment
- Past and present anti-public education campaigns
- Never attended public school or state university
- Never put her own children in public school
- Does not believe in or support public education
- Believes that public school teachers are overpaid
- Supports for-profit education
- Invested $200 million in Christian schools and organizations
- Advocates transferring money out of public education and into for-profit, Christian-based education
- Donated $9.5 million to Donald Trump’s campaign, so this position could be seen as political payback (pay-to-play?)
Ms. DeVos is best known for her anti-public education campaigns. She is a 58-year-old billionaire philanthropist from Michigan and leads the American Federation for Children, which promotes charter school education. She’s married to Dick DeVos, an heir to the Amway fortune, and is the sister to Erik Prince, founder of notorious government-contracted security company Blackwater, now known as Academi.
Ms. DeVos’s nomination has met with some sharp criticism from both the left, where some see her as an opponent of public schools, and the right, where her stance on Common Core standards has come under scrutiny.
Donald E. Heller, provost and vice president for academic affairs at the University of San Francisco, wrote on Twitter that Mr. Trump’s pick ” could have been worse. But not much.” Mr. Heller said that her past work with faith-based organizations could offer additional clues about her approach to postsecondary education. He also said, “She may push for federal funding that would make its way more toward private and religious institutions at the expense of public institutions.”
The National Education Association, the largest labor union in the US, was quick to criticize Donald Trump’s pick, arguing that Ms. DeVos has “done more to undermine public education than support students” and accusing her of pushing “a corporate agenda.”
“She has lobbied for failed schemes, like vouchers – which take away funding and local control from our public schools – to fund private schools at taxpayers’ expense. These schemes do nothing to help our most-vulnerable students while they ignore or exacerbate glaring opportunity gaps. She has consistently pushed a corporate agenda to privatize, de-professionalize and impose cookie-cutter solutions to public education,” the labor union representing teachers and school administrators said in a statement. “By nominating Betsy DeVos, the Trump administration has demonstrated just how out of touch it is with what works best for students, parents, educators and communities.”
Secretary of Veterans Affairs –
Requires Senate confirmation
The secretary will face the task of improving the image of a department Mr. Trump has widely criticized.
Secretary of Homeland Security – John Kelly
Requires Senate confirmation
President-elect Donald Trump has chosen retired Marine Gen. John F. Kelly to run the Department of Homeland Security, turning to a blunt-spoken border-security hawk who clashed with the Obama administration over women in combat and plans to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay
The hodgepodge agency, formed after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, has one key role in the Trump administration: guarding the United States’ borders. If Mr. Trump makes good on his promises of widespread deportations and building a wall, this secretary will have to carry them out.
The department, with a budget of more than $40 billion and more than 240,000 workers, is responsible for border security, immigration control, responding to natural disasters, cybersecurity and screening passengers at airports, among other duties.
As the commander of about 1,000 military personnel spread over several states and different service branches, General Kelly oversaw an organization with a role similar to that of the department he has been chosen to lead.
General Kelly is expected to be easily confirmed by the Senate Homeland Security Committee, and then by the full Senate. He would be the first noncivilian to head the department since it was created in response to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
General Kelly’s biggest challenges might come from within the new Trump administration, particularly over the threat posed by Russia and over Mr. Trump’s plan to build a border wall and to increase the number of border agents.
In previous congressional testimony, General Kelly has often called Russia a threat to United States leadership in the Western Hemisphere. He has argued that under President Vladimir Putin, Russia had returned to Cold War tactics to challenge the United States in Central and South America.
He has also called for a more balanced approach to protecting the borders, saying security cannot “be attempted as an endless series of ‘goal-line stands’ on the one-foot line at the official ports of entry or along the thousands of miles of border between this country and Mexico.” He has supported increased aid for economic development, education and a focus on human rights to combat unauthorized immigration and drug trafficking.
As the leader of the Southern Command from 2012 to 2016, General Kelly oversaw a sprawling area that covered 32 countries in the Caribbean, Central America and South America.
He has been described as a blunt but pragmatic military officer whose assessment of threats to the border and views on immigration transcend partisanship.
Alejandro Mayorkas, who served as deputy secretary of Homeland Security in the Obama administration, called General Kelly an “extraordinary partner” of the department during his tenure at the Southern Command.
“He took a very thoughtful and strategic approach to battling smuggling organizations seeking to penetrate the southwest border,” Mr. Mayorkas said.
Senator Ron Johnson, Republican of Wisconsin and chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, said, “General Kelly has a firm understanding of the threats facing the United States at home and abroad, including the threat from ISIS and other extremists.”
Representative Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, the top Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee, praised General Kelly for his experience in managing “large, complex organizations.”
But Mr. Thompson said he was nevertheless worried about some of the nominee’s more alarmist past statements about border security, such as when he implied that terrorists were crossing the southern border and entering the United States.
In congressional testimony, General Kelly has often cited ties between drug trafficking organizations and terrorist groups. For example, he said that supporters of Hezbollah in Lebanese communities in Latin America were engaged in money laundering and other illicit activities that generated profits for the group.
But intelligence analysts say there is no indication that the group is engaged in plans to carry out terrorist attacks against the United States.
One of General Kelly’s most contentious statements was that 500,000 Americans had died from terrorism connected to the drug trade.
Retired Gen. John Kelly on key homeland security issues
As head of the U.S. Southern Command, Marine Gen. John Kelly, who retired last year, dealt with many of the issues he’s likely to face as homeland security secretary. Here are a few of his views:
“The threats that I concern myself most with are not, kind of, military threats, they’re maybe law enforcement threats, they’re immigration threats,” Kelly told the Senate Armed Services Committee in 2015, responding to a question from Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) about the greatest national security threats that exist as a result of an unsecure southern U.S. border.
- A border wall
“We have a right to protect our borders, whether they’re seaward, coastlines, or land borders,” Kelly said when asked last year by The Military Times about the need to build a wall along the U.S. southern border with Mexico. “We have a right to do that. Every country has a right to do that. Obviously, some form of control whether it’s a wall or a fence. But if the countries where these migrants come from have reasonable levels of violence and reasonable levels of economic opportunity, then the people won’t leave to come here.”
“There’s 40,000 Americans that die every year from the drugs that move up through my part of the world…and then into our homeland. 40,000 people a year,” Kelly told the Senate Armed Service Committee in the 2015 hearing. “Very few have died from, you know, traditional terrorism, if you will, since 9/11. It costs our country $200 billion a year to deal with the people that are into drugs but are not, you know, dying. So, I see that as a huge, huge, huge threat.”
“In my part of the world…most countries, particularly the more developed countries with solid and really increasingly successful economies, are very, very concerned about this issue. SOUTHCOM doesn’t have, at this point — it’s building — doesn’t have a great cyber infrastructure, as of yet. With that said, obviously the U.S. government has tremendous cyber capability,” Kelly said in the Senate committee hearing in response to a question about how SOUTHCOM limited Cuban and Iranian cyber operations.
- Violent extremism
“Given the opportunity to do another 9/11, our vicious enemy would do it today, tomorrow and everyday thereafter,” Kelly said in a 2013 Memorial Day address in Texas. “I don’t know why they hate, and I frankly don’t care, but they do hate us and are driven irrationally to our destruction.”
White House Chief of Staff – Reince Priebus
Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency – Scott Pruitt
The EPA is not a Cabinet department, but the administrator is normally given cabinet rank.
The Environmental Protection Agency, which issues and oversees environmental regulations, is under threat from the president-elect, who has vowed to dismantle the agency “in almost every form.”
On December 7, 2016, Donald Trump picked Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to run the Environmental Protection Agency, putting one of the agency’s most hostile critics and a skeptic of climate change science at its helm.
The nomination is reviewed during hearings held by the members of the Environment and Public Works Committee, then it is referred to the full Senate for a vote.
Edward Scott Pruitt, born May 9, 1968, is an American lawyer and Republican politician from the state of Oklahoma. He is the Oklahoma Attorney General.
He earned his bachelor degree at Georgetown College and his law degree from the University of Tulsa.
Pruitt was a State Senator, representing Tulsa and Wagoner counties from 1998 until 2006.
In 2001, when U.S. Congressman Steve Largent decided not to seek reelection in Oklahoma’s 1st congressional district, Pruitt ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination to succeed Largent. In the 2002 election cycle, Pruitt was re-elected to the state Senate without opposition by his home district. Rather than seek re-election in 2006, Pruitt launched an unsuccessful campaign to receive the Republican nomination for Lieutenant Governor of Oklahoma. In 2010 he was elected to serve as Oklahoma’s Attorney General.
In a Nutshell
- Has been a strong ally to the fossil fuel industry
- Has aggressively fought against environmental regulations
- Has been accused of having a history of advocating on behalf of big oil at the expense of public health
- Is one of a number of attorneys general to craft a 28-state lawsuit against the Obama administration’s rules to curb carbon emissions
- Has been out in front in the conservative fight against President Obama’s Clean Power Plan (though it remains an open question if he’s leading the fight, or simply following orders from his friends in the fossil fuel industry)
- Is a “climate change sceptic.”
- Has long used his position as Oklahoma Attorney General to serve as a loyal friend to the oil and gas industry in his home state
- Has sued the EPA to block its Clean Power Plan and Waters of the United States rule
- Has also sued the EPA on behalf of Oklahoma utilities unwilling to take on the burdens of additional regulation of their coal-fired plants
- Openly criticized the EPA in a congressional hearing.
All of Pruitt’s anti-EPA suits to date have failed.
Trump has also vowed to “cancel” the Paris climate deal.
Scott Pruitt sued the EPA. How he’s going to lead it?
As attorney general for a state that is one of the nation’s biggest oil, natural gas and grain producers, Pruitt has been at the forefront of lawsuits challenging EPA regulations on carbon emissions and water pollution, and he is expected to lead the effort to erase much of President Barack Obama’s environmental agenda. Pruitt has also faced accusations that he’s unusually close to energy producers, including a 2014 New York Times story reporting that he and other Republican attorneys general had formed an “unprecedented, secretive alliance” with the industry.
During his 2014 reelection, in which he ran unopposed, Pruitt raised $114,000 from energy company PACs and executives, about 14 percent of his total fundraising.
Pruitt’s agenda would mesh well with Trump, who unloaded on Obama’s EPA during the campaign, calling it a “disgrace” that was strangling the economy. Trump promised to reduce the agency to “tidbits.”
On March 3, 2016, during the FOX Republican Primary Debate, Trump said he would eliminate the ‘Department of Environment Protection’ entirely. Trump can’t unilaterally abolish the agency, and rescinding its rules would be a strenuous process, thanks to public comment periods and other bureaucratic hurdles. Still, as the New York Times’ Coral Davenport explains, “it would be possible for a legally experienced E.P.A. chief to substantially weaken, delay, or slowly dismantle them.” Pruitt could be the man for the job. The question is just how much damage Pruitt will be able to do at the EPA
The news of the expected nomination drew sharp criticism from green groups and environmental advocates in Congress, including former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, who said he would oppose the “sad and dangerous” move.
“Mr. Pruitt’s record is not only that of being a climate change denier, but also someone who has worked closely with the fossil fuel industry to make this country more dependent, not less, on fossil fuels,” the Vermont senator said in a statement. “The American people must demand leaders who are willing to transform our energy system away from fossil fuels.”
Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz also said he would fight Pruitt’s nomination. “The health of our planet and our people is too important to leave in the hands of someone who does not believe in scientific facts or the basic mission of the EPA,” he said in a statement.
Pruitt joined a coalition of states and other challengers in a failed attempt to kill EPA’s 2009 scientific declaration that climate change poses a threat to public health and welfare. That EPA “endangerment finding” is the basis for many of the agency’s subsequent greenhouse gas rules and is likely to come under new attack under Trump. Those include a suite of EPA regulations on power plants, known as the Clean Power Plan, which are expected to receive a judgment from the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in the coming weeks.
Pruitt has been supported by Trump’s energy adviser Harold Hamm, the head of Continental Resources, one of the nation’s biggest oil producers.
Pruitt has also been a leading critic and challenger of the Obama administration’s controversial Waters of the U.S. rule, also known the Clean Water Rule, which has drawn fierce attack from energy, agricultural and development interests. Trump has cited that regulation, which increases the number of streams and wetlands protected under the Clean Water Act, as one of his top targets when he takes office.
Pruitt will now be charged with deciding how to follow through on gutting the regulation.
His LinkedIn biography boasts that he is “a leading advocate against the EPA’s activist agenda,” and says that as chairman of the Republican Attorneys General Association he “led the charge with repeated notices and subsequent lawsuits against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for their leadership’s activist agenda and refusal to follow the law.”
And this is the man who has been chosen to run the EPA.
Director of the Office of Management and Budget – Mick Mulvaney
Requires Senate confirmation
The Office of Management and Budget assists the President in overseeing the preparation of the Federal budget and in supervising its administration in Federal agencies. The OMB also oversees and coordinates the Administration’s procurement, financial management, information, and regulatory policies.
In a Nutshell:
- Holds a degree in international economics from Georgetown and a law degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
- Elected in the Tea Party wave of 2010 (South Carolina)
- Viewed as strongly anti-establishment by his colleagues -one of Congress’s most outspoken fiscal hawks
- Serves as a member of the Freedom Caucus
- Is a founding member of the Tea Party Caucus
- Was an early backer of Trump during the campaign
- Has an average net worth of $2.63M (as of 2014)
From the Washington Post Dec. 17th, 2016
Donald Trump has named Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) as his director of the Office of Management and Budget, signaling his intent to slash spending and address the deficit as president.
Mulvaney, 49, was elected to Congress in 2010 in the wave that brought a cohort of younger, staunchly conservative members into the House. Mulvaney quickly staked out ground as one of Congress’s most outspoken fiscal hawks — playing a key role in the 2011 showdown between President Obama and House Republicans that ended in the passage of strict budget caps.
He has been an advocate for spending cuts, often taking on his own party to push for more aggressive curbs to government spending.
Trump has announced plans for increased defense spending in a massive infrastructure bill. Adding Mulvaney to his administration could help ease concerns from fiscal conservatives about the cost of such plans and their effect on the deficit.
A founding member of the House Freedom Caucus, a group of about three dozen conservative hard-liners that has used its leverage to push Republican leaders to the right, Mulvaney was among the group of lawmakers widely credited with pushing House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) out of power in 2015.
He has broken with members of his own party at times, particularly around defense spending issues. Mulvaney has been a fierce critic of the use of a separate war funding stream known as overseas contingency operations, a budgetary maneuver used to skirt spending caps to fund military and anti-terror operations abroad. Mulvaney has allied himself with Democrats at times to try to force defense spending cuts.
Mulvaney is also an advocate of a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution.
Among Mulvaney’s chief duties will be overseeing the most dramatic overhaul of the nation’s tax code since President Ronald Reagan. Trump has pledged to streamline the process for individual households and slash the rate for corporations from 35 percent to 15 percent. The changes are a central component of the administration’s promise to boost economic growth to 4 percent or higher, a message that resonated with voters still bruised by the Great Recession but that many economists say is unsustainable.
In addition, Trump has said that stronger growth would mean his tax proposal would not contribute to the national debt, and he has vowed not to cut expensive but popular entitlement programs such as Medicare and Social Security. But experts have been skeptical of those claims, and Mulvaney would be responsible for reconciling the numbers.
Ambassador of the United States Trade Representative
Requires Senate confirmation
The president’s chief trade negotiator will have the odd role of opposing new trade deals, trying to rewrite old ones and bolstering the enforcement of what Mr. Trump sees as unfair trade, especially with China.
Ambassador of the United States Mission to the United Nations – Nikki Haley
Requires Senate confirmation
Second to the secretary of state, the United States ambassador to the United Nations will be the primary face of America to the world, representing the country’s interests at the Security Council on a host of issues, from Middle East peace to nuclear proliferation.
In a Nutshell:
- Never served in federal government
- Lacks obvious foreign policy experience
- Little known about her stance on contentious topics such as how to end the war in Syria
- Opposed the Iran nuclear deal, which is widely supported by most of the international community
- Fiercely critical of Trump during the campaign, calling him “everything a governor doesn’t want in a president (She added – “I will not stop until we fight a man that chooses not to disavow the KKK. That is not a part of our party. That is not who we are.” She also denounced Trump’s promise to ban Muslims from entering the United States as “un-American.”)
- Called “very, very weak” on immigration by Trump (Jan 12, 2016)
Nikki Haley has no notable track record on foreign policy, suggesting she’ll follow Trump’s lead on dealing with the Kremlin.
Nikki Haley, 44, is a rising star in the Republican Party and a daughter of Indian immigrants. Haley’s parents are members of the Sikh faith, but she’s a Christian and attends a Methodist church. She has led South Carolina as Governor since 2011, and she would be taking on a position that requires intense diplomatic and navigational skills in an often-frustrating international bureaucracy.
In 2015, Haley drew national praise and attention for her response to a mass shooting at an African-American church in Charleston, when she called for the Confederate battle flag to be removed from the grounds of the state capitol. “By removing a symbol that divides us, we can move forward as a state in harmony and we can honor the nine blessed souls who are in heaven,” she said, while acknowledging that some saw the flag as a symbol of tradition.
Also in 2015, Haley was one of several governors who asked the State Department not to resettle Syrian refugees in their states, citing a “lack of historical and verifiable intelligence” on their identities. Governors lack the power to stop the resettlement, however and South Carolina today hosts several dozen refugees from Syria.
Haley endorsed Florida Sen. Marco Rubio ahead of the South Carolina primary and campaigned with him vigorously throughout the state, which he lost to Trump. And when she delivered the Republican response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address (January 12, 2016), Haley urged the party to reject the “angriest voices” – a line widely seen as aimed at Trump. “Today, we live in a time of threats like few others in recent memory. During anxious times, it can be tempting to follow the siren call of the angriest voices,” Haley said, adding that she is “the proud daughter of Indian immigrants who reminded my brothers, my sister and me every day how blessed we were to live in this country.”
Trump tweeted: “The people of South Carolina are embarrassed by Nikki Haley!”
“Bless your heart,” she responded.
Then on Wednesday morning, Haley acknowledged Trump was one of the people she was singling out. “He was one of them, yes. He was one,” Haley told Matt Lauer on NBC’s “Today.” “There’s other people in the media, there’s people in my state. I think we’re seeing it across the country. But yes, Mr. Trump has definitely contributed to what I think is just irresponsible talk.”
Trump attacked Haley on Wednesday as being “very weak on illegal immigration” and surmised that if he were not running for president, she would be asking him for campaign cash.
Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors
Administrator of Small Business Administration – Linda McMahon
Requires Senate confirmation
In a Nutshell:
- Billionaire former chief executive of The World Wrestling Entertainment
- Failed senate candidate
- Donated 6 million to a SuperPac supporting Donald Trump
Directorof the Central Intelligence Agency (C.I.A.) – Mike Pompeo
Requires Senate confirmation
As one of the principal members of the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC), the CIA reports to the Director of National Intelligence and is primarily focused on providing intelligence for the President and Cabinet.
The new C.I.A. director will have to decide whether to undo a C.I.A. “modernization” plan put in place this year by Director John O. Brennan, and how to proceed if the president-elect orders a resumption of harsh interrogation tactics for terrorism suspects — critics have described the tactics as torture.
In a Nutshell:
- Pompeo attended West Point and graduated first in his class in 1986
- After serving his time in the army, he received a law degree from Harvard, where he was editor of the Harvard Law Review
- Pompeo wants to resume bulk collection of domestic phone metadata — the numbers and time stamps of calls, but not the content — which has been deemed illegal by two governmental panels
- He’s called for the death penalty for Edward Snowden, the founder of WikiLeaks
- Pompeo is opposed to closing the Guantanamo Bay military prison in Cuba
- He has attacked Hillary Clinton relentlessly, accusing her of “criminality” over her use of a private server and email system while she was secretary of state
- Perhaps most controversial, Pompeo wants to reinstate “enhanced interrogation techniques,” including the waterboarding of prisoners. John Brennan, the current CIA director, and Senator John McCain have strongly rebuffed the use of this torture
- While the CIA and Defense Department see climate change as a threat to national security, Pompeo opposes the regulation of greenhouse gas emissions
- Pompeo opposes the Iran deal and has called for regime change in that country
When the CIA was created, its purpose was to create a clearinghouse for foreign policy intelligence and analysis. Today its primary purpose is to collect, analyze, evaluate, and disseminate foreign intelligence, and to perform covert actions.
Donald Trump’s picks for advisors so far have leaned hard to the right, and that includes Mike Pompeo.
Pompeo, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, was first elected to Congress from his Wichita, Kansas, district in the tea party wave of 2010.
Chief Strategist – Steve Bannon
National Security Advisor – Michael Flynn
Ambassador to Israel – David Friedman
In a Nutshell:
- He attended Columbia University and New York University School of Law and has been a member of the New York bar since 1982
- He maintains a residence in Jerusalem
- He is an Orthodox Jew
- His diplomatic experience has been limited to being a bankruptcy lawyer who has represented Trump’s casinos
- He has no other diplomatic or foreign policy experience
- He has questioned the need for a two-state solution for the Israelis and the Palestinians
- He looks forward to moving the embassy and doing the job “from the U.S. embassy in Israel’s eternal capital, Jerusalem,” even though Palestinians claim Jerusalem as their capital as well (Jerusalem is home to the third-holiest site in Islam as well as the holiest site in Judaism)
- He is aligned with the Israeli far right and in some cases is to the right of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
- He is known for hardline views that depart from decades of established American policy
- He is seen as a right-wing “extremist” because he supports expanding settlements and moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem
- He has said that he does not believe it would be illegal for Israel to annex the occupied West Bank
- He supports building new settlements in the West bank
- He has compared left-leaning Jews in America to the Jews who aided the Nazis in the Holocaust (Kapos)
- He has made clear his disdain for those American Jews – especially those connected to J Street – who support a two-state solution for the Israelis and the Palestinians
- He has compared J Street supporters to “kapos”
- He uses the word “kapo” to describe fellow Jews who do not happen to share his views on Israel
- He has called Barack Obama an anti-Semite
- He has linked Huma Abedin, Hillary Clinton’s former aide and a Muslim, to the Muslim Brotherhood