Amid intense speculation over who will be the next secretary of state, President-elect Donald Trump’s economic team is taking shape. Within hours of reports confirming Trump selected members of his cabinet to be the treasury secretary, secretary of commerce, and head of the transportation department, the President-elect’s transition team announced they are bulking up the staff by adding new vice chairs and executive committee members while hinting that many more cabinet selections are coming soon.
It’s safe to say things are moving incredibly fast right now, so here’s everything you need to know.
Steve Mnuchin, Treasury Secretary
Mnuchin is Trump’s first major cabinet selection that will play a key role in executing the president’s economic policies that helped him win a majority of the Rust Belt states on Election Day. Along with developing economic policies that will strengthen the economy, Mnuchin will be expected to label China a currency manipulator on his first day, according to Trump’s pledge made to the American voter during the campaign.
Bloomberg reports that Trump’s latest cabinet selection spent 17 years as a partner at Goldman Sachs, worked with George Soros, helped fund blockbuster films like Avatar, ran a successful hedge fund, and worked closely with Trump on developing his tax plan.
“The next Treasury chief’s challenges will include a budget deficit that’s forecast to widen and require increased debt issuance; an economy that’s been stuck in a period of slow growth and exacerbated income inequality; and international partners wary about the new president’s approach to trade.”
Wilbur Ross, Secretary of Commerce
Ross is a billionaire investor who helped Trump resurrect his casino company after it went bankrupt. Ross is well-known for buying struggling companies throughout the 1990s and helping them get back on track. He left the bankruptcy advisory business in the 2000s and earned incredible wealth by investing in struggling companies in U.S. industries like steel, coal, auto parts, and textiles.
The 79-year-old will be expected to transform the U.S. economy with his business acumen as a key member of Trump’s cabinet by helping renegotiate trade deals and bring back manufacturing jobs to the states. Trump praised this cabinet selection in a statement released on Wednesday.
“Wilbur Ross is a champion of American manufacturing and knows how to help companies succeed. Most importantly, he is one of the greatest negotiators I have ever met. Wilbur knows that cutting taxes for working families, reducing burdensome government regulations and unleashing America’s energy resources will strengthen our economy.”
Elaine L. Chao, Secretary of Transportation
Chao will be tasked with overseeing Trump’s vision to improve the country’s infrastructure redevelopment as another key member of his cabinet. As the secretary of labor for George W. Bush, she was the only cabinet member to serve the president for all eight years. According to the New York Times, she was a White House fellow under President Ronald Reagan, the director of the Peace Corps under President George Bush, who promoted her to deputy transportation secretary in his cabinet.
“Her résumé speaks to the ease with which she runs in powerful circles in Washington and beyond. She has worked for Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government as well as the conservative Heritage Foundation. She was also a frequent commentator on Fox News, a role that several of Mr. Trump’s other cabinet picks and candidates share, like K. T. McFarland, whom he named as his deputy national security adviser.”
Todd Ricketts, Deputy Secretary of Commerce
The co-owner of the 2016 World Series champions will be the second most powerful man in the commerce department in Trump’s cabinet. Ricketts impressed Trump by turning the Chicago Cubs into champions, and the President-elect hopes he will have the same success with a prominent role in shaping the future of the U.S. economy alongside Mnuchin in his cabinet.
“As Deputy Commerce Secretary he will help us cut waste and streamline government so that it works for the people of America,” Trump said in a statement. “The incredible job he and the Ricketts family did in the purchase and turnaround of the Chicago Cubs – one perfect step after another, leading to the World Championship, is what I want representing our people. I am very proud to have him on our team.”
Trump selecting Ricketts to work in his cabinet could improve Mitt Romney’s odds of being chosen as secretary of state. In February, Trump warned Ricketts not to spend money on negative ads during the campaign.
I hear the Rickets family, who own the Chicago Cubs, are secretly spending $’s against me. They better be careful, they have a lot to hide!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 22, 2016
On Tuesday night, Trump sat down with Mitt Romney in Manhattan for dinner fueling speculation that he’s a leading candidate for secretary of state in Trump’s cabinet. Romney told reporters the two have put past differences aside and are having meaningful discussions about the future of the country. Since Trump chose Ricketts, despite being an adversary during his campaign, the likelihood that Romney could be selected for the most coveted position in Trump’s cabinet is a lot harder to refute.
[Featured Image by Drew Angerer/Getty Images]