President-elect Donald Trumpmeets with New Jersey governor Chris Christie at New Jersey Golf Course

A Look At Trump’s Cabinet Picks So Far

As the reality of a Donald Trump presidency continues to set in, most Americans find themselves wondering how many of his campaign promises he will keep. Trump ran on an anti-establishment platform, but will likely need some of Washington’s most familiar faces at his side in order to keep his head above water as he assumes his new position, chooses his cabinet, and pushes his platform.

Trump is clearly realizing this as he begins to build his team of trusted advisors, cabinet members, and staff. His first move was to appoint Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, to be his chief of staff. Priebus is a long-time Washington insider and was also one of Trump’s most trusted campaign advisors.

Now the rumors are out as Trump has begun making cabinet selections and meeting potential appointees. Some have been confirmed, while others are just educated guesses based on inside sources and visitors.

For a little background, the U.S. cabinet is actually part of the constitution. Currently, there are 15 secretaries that oversee various departments of the federal government such as diplomacy, security, parks and health. They are appointed by the president but must be confirmed by the senate.

Here is what we know so far about those that will likely be part of Trump’s cabinet and White House staff.

Chief of Staff

Some of Trump’s supporters have already expressed disappointment in his selection of Washington insider Reince Priebus as chief of staff. However, Trump has credited Priebus for his role in Trump’s victory multiple times, and Priebus has a significant number of important political connections, including Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House.

Chief of Staff is not a cabinet position and does not need to be confirmed with a senate hearing.

Donald Trump and Chief of Staff Reince Priebus
Donald Trump and Reince Priebus the night of the election. [Image by Mark Wilson/Getty Images]

Attorney General

One of Trump’s earlier cabinet picks was Sen. Jeff Sessions for attorney general. Sessions was the first member of congress to endorse Trump and advised Trump’s campaign team many times throughout the campaign.

Sessions has proven to be a staunch opponent to amnesty and has been known to vote hard on immigration-related issues. He has also spoken out against the current U.S. debt levels multiple times. When it comes to criminal justice reform, he claims to be all for it, but his voting record is mixed on the issue.

You can view his official stances on his senate website.

Director of the CIA

Trump has chosen Rep. Mike Pompeo for this important cabinet position. A few important issues that may come up in his senate hearing will be his opinions on Edward Snowden and U.S. interrogation techniques. Pompeo has been quoted as saying he believes that Edward Snowden is deserving of the death penalty for his actions in exposing details of the NSA surveillance program. He has also pushed for harsher interrogation techniques and has expressed a belief that they fall within the law and constitution.

NSA Advisor

Trump appears to have reached across the aisle for this pick with Michael Flynn, a registered Democrat. Flynn appears to agree with, and perhaps even have helped shape, Trump’s foreign policy. He is expected to be hawkish on war as well as hard on immigration from Muslim countries.

This position is not a cabinet position and does not need to be confirmed with a senate hearing.

Chief Strategist

Stephen Bannon was another early appointee by Trump and one that has already stirred up a lot of controversy. Bannon has spent the last few years as executive chairman of the alt-right Breitbart News and is known for some of his more controversial rhetoric. He is expected to clash with Priebus, a more traditional Washington insider on many issues. The claim is that they will work as equals, though how exactly that will play out remains to be seen.

This position is not a cabinet position and does not need to be confirmed with a senate hearing.

Ambassador to the U.N.

Trump’s cabinet pick for U.N. ambassador, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, was somewhat of a surprise given that she was a vocal opponent to Trump throughout most of his campaign. She is the daughter of Indian immigrants and has been a rising star in the GOP for a few years. She comes with very little diplomatic or foreign relations experience, a stark contrast to the last four ambassadors who all had extensive experience in international affairs.

Secretary of Education

Trump picked Betsy DeVos for this cabinet position, a choice hailed by many conservative groups. DeVos is a staunch advocate for charter schools and is expected to clash with teacher’s unions on many positions. She was another vocal opponent during Trump’s candidacy, instead endorsing the more moderate Marco Rubio.

Secretary of Commerce

Billionaire investor Wilbur Ross is expected to be nominated to the cabinet as commerce secretary. If nominated, his confirmation hearing is expected to be a long and complicated one due to his dizzying array of business investments, connections, and board memberships. Like Trump, he is a staunch opponent of current trade deals with China, Mexico, and other similar countries.

Other important cabinet picks are still up in the air with names like Mitt Romney, Chris Christie, Ben Carson, and Rudy Giuliani being floated around.

As as been done by many presidents in the past, Trump is rewarding many of his original and stalwart supporters with positions in his administration. However, a few appointees and potential appointees were staunch opponents to a Trump presidency throughout his campaign and may be seen as an olive branch to those whom he feuded with so bitterly on the campaign trail.

What do you think of Trump’s cabinet picks so far?

[Featured Image by Drew Angerer/Getty Images]

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