The Donald Trump Cabinet Tracker
A guide to the business tycoons, generals, and conservative politicians the president-elect has nominated to run his administration as they navigate the Senate confirmation process
President-elect Donald Trump has assembled a government-in-waiting that has plenty of money, plenty of military expertise, and plenty of time in politics—but not much experience in the sprawling federal departments they have been tapped to run. Trump has, thus far, chosen five wealthy business leaders, two generals, and four Republican politicians for his Cabinet. All but two are white, all but two are men, and just one—Elaine Chao—has run a federal agency before.
Now they all must navigate the gauntlet of the U.S. Senate, where a slim Republican majority and an aggressive Democratic opposition will determine whether they get the jobs for which they’ve been nominated. The Senate hasn’t formally rejected a Cabinet pick since it voted down President George H.W. Bush’s nomination of John Tower for defense secretary in 1989. But no new president has gotten all of their nominees confirmed in the last 30 years; those that become enmeshed in controversy or partisan brinkmanship (it’s often both) usually withdraw before a vote.
Trump may have more luck with the Senate than his immediate predecessors, and he has Democrats to thank. When they held the majority in 2013, they changed the rules so that executive-branch nominations are no longer subject to the 60-vote threshold for filibusters. That means Trump could conceivably win Senate approval of his entire Cabinet without a single Democratic vote. But even without the filibuster threat, Republicans have just a 52-48 majority, and three GOP defectors could join unified Democrats in thwarting a nominee.
The confirmation process begins in earnest this week, as seven of Trump’s top nominees are scheduled to testify in Senate hearings. They include two of the most important Cabinet posts: Senator Jeff Sessions, the nominee for attorney general, and Rex Tillerson, Trump’s pick for secretary of state. The mere scheduling of hearings has sparked a fight between the parties. Democrats are accusing Republicans of trying to rush Trump’s Cabinet into office without proper vetting, particularly in the case of the wealthy executives who have slim public records and a greater potential for conflicts of interest. Just three of the nominees have completed financial disclosure forms and signed ethics agreements—traditionally a prerequisite for confirmation hearings. Democrats are also upset that Republicans have scheduled six hearings for a single day, Wednesday; they believe it’s an attempt to dilute media coverage of the hearings and make it easier for the nominees to avoid a major controversy.Who's in Donald Trump's Cabinet? - The Atlantic:
Trump’s pick: Betsy DeVos
Background: DeVos is a longtime philanthropist and Republican donor and the former chairwoman of the state party in Michigan. She’s been a major advocate for education reform centered on expanding charter schools and private-school vouchers. She led the advocacy group, American Federation for Children, that pushes for increased school choice for parents. The New York Times reported on her successful effort to kill legislation in Detroit that would have imposed tougher accountability standards on charter schools.
Government experience: None.
Why Trump likes her: Trump has shown that he favors plucking people from the private sector who will come in and shake up a government agency, and DeVos fits that bill. She has strong support among Republican school reformers, especially those who favor both expanding charter schools and vouchers. (Democrats favor the former but not the latter.) She is further to the right on education than two other women Trump interviewed: Eva Moskowitz, a charter school leader in New York, and Michelle Rhee, the former chancellor of the Washington D.C. public schools.
Chances at Senate confirmation: Very good. Key Republicans have already come out in support of DeVos, including the chairman of the relevant committee in the Senate, Lamar Alexander. Most Democrats will likely oppose the pick, but barring a controversy that erupts during her confirmation hearings, she should win approval.
Status of nomination: Hearing scheduled for January 11 before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee
Who's in Donald Trump's Cabinet? - The Atlantic: