In collaboration with Travis Hinton
Steve Bannon – Chief Strategist and Senior Counselor
Steve Bannon was named Chief Strategist and Senior Counselor by Donald Trump after serving as Chief Executive during the campaign. Bannon is the most controversial appointment Trump has made so far, primarily because of his association with Breitbart News. Bannon was a founding member of the website, and after Andrew Breitbart’s death in 2012, he became the executive chair. The platform started taking a more nationalistic approach to their journalism, and, in 2016 became known as “the platform for the alt-right.” There is no evidence that Bannon is an anti-Semite, nor is there any evidence that he is a racist; the two most common accusations. In fact, Bannon has been defended by several prominent Jewish voices as being distinctly not anti-Semitic. Bannon has years of experience working in the news media and was even named one of the 25 most influential people in political news back in 2015. So far, there’s no indication that this is a bad appointment. One might argue that the campaign momentum swung back in Trump’s favor after Bannon joined the team, but the accusations against him still leave some apprehension.
General James “Maddog” Mattis – Secretary of Defense
General Mattis, 66, brings knowledge, strategy, and a warrior mentality back to Washington. He retired in 2013 after serving 44 years in the United States Marine Corps. General Mattis is feared by our enemies, and will bring “Chaos” upon them. Known for his ability to turn a phrase, Mattis does not mince words when describing his plans to annihilate American enemies.
Congressman Mike Pompeo – CIA Director
Congressman Pompeo has served Kansas in the House of Representatives since 2011. His tenure in Congress includes membership on the House Committee on Intelligence and House Committee investigating the Benghazi attacks. In addition to serving in Congress, Congressman Pompeo served in the Army from 1986 to 1991.
Governor Nikki Haley – UN Ambassador
Governor Haley has been the governor of South Carolina since 2011. She is one of two Indian-American governors, the other being Bobby Jindal. She has a strong conservative record in South Carolina and is a rising star in the Republican Party. Haley brings diversity to President-elect Trump’s cabinet, which is a great political move after the accusations of racism throughout his campaign.
General Mike Flynn – National Security Advisor
General Flynn retired from the Army in 2014 after serving 33 years. He was the Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency under President Obama. Now, he will return to Washington as President-elect Trump’s National Security Advisor. He is one of the few appointments that will not need Senate confirmation.
Senator Jeff Sessions – Attorney General
Senator Sessions is by no means an “outsider.” He has been an Alabama senator since 1997. He, like Haley, is a strong, Southern conservative. Before becoming a Senator, he was a U.S. Attorney from 1981-1993. Then, he served as the Attorney General of Alabama from 1995-1997. In addition to his experience in government, Senator Sessions served for four years in the United States Army, achieving the rank of Captain.
Dr. Ben Carson – Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
After a prolific career in medicine, Dr. Ben Carson turned to politics, first at the National Prayer Breakfast in 2013. He made an unsuccessful bid for the Presidency in 2016, and became one of Donald Trump’s most ardent supporters. He was born in Detroit and grew up poor. Reactions have mixed about Trump’s decision here. Proponents say he came from a similar situation as the people he will be working with, so he knows what will help them most. Detractors point out his lack of experience and background. Nevertheless, Dr. Carson has wonderful communication skills, especially with underprivileged and minority communities.
Betsy Devos – Secretary of Education
Betsy DeVos has been appointed as the Secretary of Education. DeVos has gained political recognition throughout her career in Michigan as a force for classic Republican values. She worked alongside President George W. Bush for his re-election campaign in 2004 and has held several fundraisers at her residence. As for this position, DeVos is about as strong an advocate for school vouchers as you’ll find. She is also a fierce advocate for school choice and charter schools. This couldn’t be better news for most conservatives! If she can make headway in getting public money out of the school system, it should lead to a more open market, more incentive for teachers, and less union control, all great news! Politically, she opposed Trump during the primaries, so this is a good move on Trump’s part and shows that he’s willing to work with people who are outside his inner circle.
Kathleen Troia McFarland – Deputy National Security Advisor
KT McFarland is nominated as the Deputy National Security Advisor. McFarland has previously worked as a designated government security official. She got her start as a member of Henry Kissinger’s National Security Council staff in the 1970s, graduated to work on Reagan’s Senate Armed Services Committee, and eventually received the Defense Department’s highest civilian award, the Distinguished Civilian Service Award in 1985. She also holds degrees from Oxford in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics, and studied at MIT with concentrations on nuclear weapons, China, and the Soviet Union. McFarland may be the most qualified cabinet appointment thus far, and this is a great role for her to fill.
Linda McMahon – Administrator of the Small Business Administration
The former President and CEO of the WWE, and wife of founder Vince McMahon, Linda has been a player in politics since 2009. She has lost two senatorial campaigns in Connecticut, but her stance as a moderate Republican plays well with both sides of the aisle, and her experience running one of the largest entertainment entities in the United States will help as she advises Trump though his promised deregulations in the business sector.
Reince Priebus – Chief of Staff
The former Chairman of the Republican National Committee, Reince Priebus was elected chairman of the Wisconsin Republican Party in 2007 and became general counsel for the Republican National Committee in 2009. Then, in 2011, Priebus was elected chairman of the RNC. He brings to the job 3 terms as RNC chair, and the respect of Republicans all over the country.
Scott Pruitt – Head of the Environmental Protection Agency
With Trump’s most recent nominations, he selected former Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt. He has been involved in Oklahoman politics since 2001, eventually winning the Attorney General’s office. He immediately took a strong stance against President Obama’s regulatory agenda, and has sued the administration over several large pieces of legislation, including ObamaCare, Dodd-Frank, and its immigration policy. He has previously sued the EPA to block dozens of regulations. In keeping with his campaign promises, Trump’s nomination of Pruitt should vastly decrease and simplify regulations regarding the environment.
Trump has yet to nominate several key positions including Secretary of State, Secretary of the Interior, and the Head of the VA. We will wait with bated breath to see who wins the newest episode of The Apprentice.