There has been a lot in the news regarding who President-elect Trump has been appointing for his cabinet. I will be the first to say “I have no idea who the normal cabinet members even are.”
After some research I now have a better understanding for who actually runs our country and I figured I can’t be the only one who would like to more detail, so here you go…
The cabinet is probably even more important than the election of the president as it is these individuals that lead various parts of the country’s operations.
The cabinet consists of the Vice President, a several other offices and the heads of 15 other departments that report to the president. Something that a lot of people don’t know, is that the president’s cabinet also established line of succession for the presidency should the president (or anyone else in the line of succession) die. You can see the line of succession to the President below on the right.
The current cabinet under the Obama Administration, along with what they do, is as follows:
Current: Susan Rice
The National Security Advisor, officially known as the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, serves as a chief advisor to the President of the United States on national security issues.
Current: David Axelrod
A relatively new role in the president’s cabinet, the presidential strategists typically wield a lot of power regarding daily decisions, they also take a longer look at what effects these daily decisions will have down the line and think strategically about the president’s entire tenure, rather than what immediately lies ahead.
Current: John O. Brennan
The Director of the Central Intelligence Agency serves as the head of the Central Intelligence Agency and reports to the Director of National Intelligence.
Current: John Kerry
The Secretary of State, appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate, is the President’s chief foreign affairs adviser. The Secretary carries out the President’s foreign policies through the State Department and the Foreign Service of the United States.
Current: Jacob Lew
The Secretary of the Treasury is responsible for formulating and recommending domestic and international financial, economic, and tax policy, participating in the formulation of broad fiscal policies that have general significance for the economy, and managing the public debt.
Current: Ashton B. Carter
The Secretary of Defense is the principal defense policy advisor to the President. Under the direction of the President, the Secretary exercises authority, direction, and control over the Department of Defense.
Current: Loretta Lynch
The United States Attorney General (A.G.) is the head of the United States Department of Justice per 28 U.S.C. § 503, concerned with legal affairs and is the chief law enforcement officer and chief lawyer of the United States government.
Current: Salley Jewel
The U.S. Department of the Interior uses sound science to manage and sustain America’s lands, water, wildlife, and energy resources, honors our nation’s responsibilities to tribal nations, and advocates for America’s island communities.
Current: Tom Vilsack
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is a cabinet-level agency that oversees the American farming industry. USDA duties range from helping farmers with price support subsidies, to inspecting food to ensure the safety of the American public.
Current: Penny Pritzker
The Secetary of Commerce is concerned with promoting American businesses and industries; the Department states its mission to be “to foster, promote, and develop the foreign and domestic commerce
Current: Thomas E. Perez
The United States Secretary of Labor is a member of the Cabinet of the United States, and as the head of the U.S. Department of Labor, exercises control over the department, and enforces and suggests laws involving unions, the workplace, and all other issues involving any form of business-person controversies.
Current: Sylvia Mathews Burwell
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is the U.S. government’s principal agency for protecting the health of all Americans and providing essential human services, especially for those who are least able to help themselves.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is a cabinet-level agency that oversees federal programs designed to help Americans with their housing needs. HUD seeks to increase homeownership, support community development and increase access to affordable housing free from discrimination.
Current: Anthony Foxx
The United States Department of Transportation (USDOT or DOT) is a federal Cabinet department of the U.S. government concerned with transportation. It was established by an act of Congress on October 15, 1966, and began operation on April 1, 1967. It is governed by the United States Secretary of Transportation.
Current: Ernest Moniz
The Department of Energy (DOE) is charged with advancing the national, economic, and energy security of the United States; promoting scientific and technological innovation in support of that mission; and ensuring the environmental cleanup of the national nuclear weapons complex.
Current: Arne Duncan
The United States Secretary of Education is the head of the U.S. Department of Education. The Secretary is a member of the President’s Cabinet, and fifteenth in line of United States presidential line of succession. The United States Secretary of Education deals with federal influence over Education policy.
Current: Robert McDonald
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is responsible for providing vital services to America’s veterans. VA provides health care services, benefits programs and access to national cemeteries to former military personnel and their dependents.
Current: Jeh Johnson
Department of Homeland Security. … Created in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, DHS has largely focused on federal preparations to deal with terrorism while trying to manage other duties, including border security, customs and emergency management.
Which leads us to President-elect Trump’s cabinet:
Choice: Lt. General Michael Flynn
A man who has been described by some media as an “extreme Islamophobe” was fired by the Obama administration in 2014. It is believed that he was appointed due to his ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Flynn is a retired U.S. Army lieutenant general who last served as the 18th Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency. A registered Democrat, he grew up in a Democratic family but has recently shown support for the Republican party. Politically he recently recanted that he believed in “women’s right to choose” and changed his mind to “pro-life”. Flynn sees the Muslim faith as one of the root causes of Islamist Terrorism  and states that “fear of Muslims is rational”.
Flynn awards include:
- Defense Distinguished Service Medal
- Defense Superior Service Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters
- Legion of Merit with Oak Leaf Cluster
- Bronze Star Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters
- Meritorious Service Medal with one silver Oak Leaf Cluster
- Joint Service Commendation Medal
- Army Commendation Medal with five Oak Leaf Clusters
- National Defense Service Medal
Choice: Stephen Bannon
Perhaps one of the more controversial choices (but not surprising – given that he led Trump’s campaign) Trump has made is Stephen Bannon. Bannon was executive chair of Breitbart News, a far-right American news, opinion and commentary website noted for its connection to the alt-right. Bannon was charged with misdemeanor domestic violence, battery and dissuading a witness in early January 1996, after wife accused Bannon of domestic abuse. He also has been accused of anti-Semetic remarks but when asked about if he was an anti-Semetic Nationalist, he stated “I am not an anti-Semetic Nationalist, but I am a Nationalist.”
Choice: Kansas Rep. Mike Pompeo
He is a member of the Tea Party movement within the Republican Party. He was a Kansas representative on the Republican National Committee. Pompeo is strongly opposed to abortion except in cases where the mother’s life is at risk. He is a strong supporter of the Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Reform Act. He opposes the Affordable Care Act and he supported the U.S. federal government shutdown of 2013 blaming Obama.
Pompeo supports the NSA’s surveillance programs and states that they are “good and important work”.
Trump has yet to chose anyone for Secretary of State but the current runners up are: Mitt Romney, Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations and finally South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley
Current choices are: Steven Mnuchin and Jeb Hensarling.
Choices are currently: James “Mad Dog” Mattis, Stephen Hadley, Sen. Tom Cotton, Sen. Jim Talent, CIA director Jim Woolsey and Sen. Kelly Ayotte
At the moment, Trump has asked Sen. Jeff Sessions to serve as Attorney General, but he has not yet accepted.
Trump has not announced anyone he’s interested in for Secretary of the Interior
There is a long list of people that Trump is considering for this position including: Sid Miller, Sam Brownback of Kansas, and three former governors: Dave Heineman (Nebraska), Sonny Perdue (Georgia) and Rick Perry (Texas). Other possibilities are Charles Herbster (who my father knows – and personally I hope gets the position), Mike McCloskey, Bruce Rastetter, Kip Tom, Chuck Connor, Don Villwock and finally Ted McKinney,
Choices currently are Wilbur Ross, Lew Eisenberg and Dan DiMicco,
Trump has not suggested anyone he’s considering for Secretary of Labor
Current choices are: Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), Former Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, and Ben Carson
Although Trump has not stated he’s interested in anyone in particular, several people vying for the job are: Bud Albright, Scott Keller, Robert Woodson Sr., Pam Patenaude, former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown and former New York Rep. Rick Lazio.
Trump is currently considering Steven Mnuchin, Jeb Hensarling, Jonathan Gray and finally JPMorgan Chase Chief Executive Jamie Dimon.
Possible candidates include: Harold Hamm, Rep. Kevin Cramer, Robert Grady, James Connaughton and Kristine Svinicki
Current runners are: Indiana Rep. Luke Messer, William Evers, Tony Zeiss, Michelle Rhee, Former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, Gerard Robinson, Tony Bennett, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker; Hanna Skandera, Betsy DeVos and Kevin Chavous.
At the moment there are only two names floating around for the Secretary of Veteran affairs. They are: Jeff Miller, and Scott Brown
Current possibilities are: Jeff Miller, Rep. John Katko (R-N.Y.) and David Clarke
Order of Presidential Succession
- Vice President
- Speaker of the House
- President pro tempore of the Senate
- Secretary of State
- Secretary of the Treasury
- Secretary of Defense
- Attorney General
- Secretary of the Interior
- Secretary of Agriculture
- Secretary of Commerce
- Secretary of Labor
- Secretary of Health and Human Services
- Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
- Secretary of Transportation
- Secretary of Energy
- Secretary of Education
- Secretary of Veterans Affairs
- Secretary of Homeland Security