go to content
Politics

Here Are All Of Donald Trump's Cabinet Picks

Here are the people President-elect Donald Trump has picked or nominated to serve in his administration.

Originally posted on
Updated on

Former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue will be nominated as President-elect Donald Trump's secretary of agriculture, the final cabinet position to be selected, the Associated Press reported on Wednesday.

Perdue served two terms as governor of Georgia, starting in 2003. He was the first Republican to lead the state since the Reconstruction Era, though he began his career in politics as a Democrat in the state legislature before switching parties in 1998, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported.

Since leaving public office, Perdue started several businesses, including an exports company with a focus on food and a grain dealer. He met with Trump at Trump Tower on Nov. 30.

“He asked me what my skills sets were and I told him what they were, aside from having been governor, as a business person and primarily in agricultural commodities, trading domestically and internationally,” Perdue told reporters at the time. “And he lit up.”

Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, will reportedly serve as a senior adviser in the new White House.

Transition team officials told multiple news outlets on Monday that Kushner — a real estate developer who is married to Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, and owns the Observer newspaper — would be named to influential post, with a formal announcement expected as soon as Tuesday.

But Kushner’s appointment raises questions about potential conflicts of interest because of the 35-year-old’s business dealings. The appointment may also violate a decades-old federal anti-nepotism statute that bars officials from appointing relatives to positions in the government.

Read more here.

Former Indiana Sen. Dan Coats has reportedly been picked as President-elect Donald Trump's director of national intelligence.

Coats, who just completed a term as senator, had announced he would not be seeking reelection. Coats had returned to the Senate in 2011 after serving there from 1989 to 1999.

From 2001 to 2005, he served as the ambassador to Germany.

On Thursday, multiple news outlets reported he would be tapped by Trump to be the director of national intelligence, leading the federal intelligence agencies and acting as the future president's intelligence advisor.

The appointment comes as Trump's relationship with the US intelligence community continues to be strained after he questioned assessments that Russia played a role in hacking Democratic organizations to influence the presidential election.

Jay Clayton — Chairman of the SEC

President-elect Donald Trump announced he intends to nominate Jay Clayton — a partner with Sullivan & Cromwell LLP — as chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

"Jay Clayton is a highly talented expert on many aspects of financial and regulatory law, and he will ensure our financial institutions can thrive and create jobs while playing by the rules at the same time,” Trump said in a statement. “We need to undo many regulations which have stifled investment in American businesses, and restore oversight of the financial industry in a way that does not harm American workers.”

In a statement Clayton thanked Trump for the opportunity.

“If confirmed, we are going to work together with key stakeholders in the financial system to make sure we provide investors and our companies with the confidence to invest together in America," he said. "We will carefully monitor our financial sector, as we set policy that encourages American companies to do what they do best: create jobs."

Formerly a Deputy US Trade Representative during the Reagan administration, Robert Lighthizer has held down top trade positions in both the public and private spheres.

In addition to serving under former president Reagan, Lighthizer has also worked as the Chief of Staff for the US Senate Senate Committee of Finance, and led the international trade law practice at Skadden, Arps Slate, Meagher and Flom for more than 30 years.

Lighthizer is expected to take a hardline approach against China's trade policies, an issue he has been vocal about in the past.

In 2011, he wrote an opinion piece for the Washington Times asking, "On a purely intellectual level, how does allowing China to constantly rig trade in its favor advance the core conservative goal of making markets more efficient?"

He went on to argue that markets "do not run better when manufacturing shifts to China largely because of the actions of its government. Nor do they become more efficient when Chinese companies are given special privileges in global markets, while American companies must struggle to compete with unfairly traded goods.

"In a statement sent via his transition team, the president-elect said, “Ambassador Lighthizer is going to do an outstanding job representing the United States as we fight for good trade deals that put the American worker first."

“He has extensive experience striking agreements that protect some of the most important sectors of our economy, and has repeatedly fought in the private sector to prevent bad deals from hurting Americans," he added.

The president-elect on Saturday announced he had nominated Rep. Mick Mulvaney from South Carolina to head the Office of Management and Budget, according to a statement from his transition team.

Mulvaney is a Tea Party Republican known for his staunch opposition to government spending, having criticized proposals within his own party, and has spent most of his political career seeking to slash the US budget.

The Trump transition team said Mulvaney "brings a wealth of experience on economic, budgetary, and fiscal issues to his new role," and that he has "long been a strong voice in Congress for reining in out-of-control spending, fighting government waste and enacting tax policies that will allow working Americans to thrive."

Trump called Mulvaney, who became a US congressman for South Carolina's fifth district in 2011, a "high-energy leader with deep convictions for how to responsibly manage our nation's finances and save our country from drowning in red ink."

He added that "with Mick at the head of OMB, my administration is going to make smart choices about America’s budget, bring new accountability to our federal government, and renew the American taxpayer’s trust in how their money is spent.”

After weeks of hinting at names of various political allies and opponents, Donald Trump announced Tuesday he will nominate oil executive Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State.

Tillerson, has since 2006 been chairman and CEO of Exxon Mobil, one of the world’s largest companies. The Texas oilman is known for his work in Russia and was in 2013 awarded the Russian Order of Friendship by Vladimir Putin. The company has been dogged with allegations of complicity in environmental degradation and human rights abuses in countries from Nigeria to Indonesia, though a number of these scandals took place before Tillerson was at the company’s helm.

“Rex Tillerson’s career is the embodiment of the American dream. Through hard work, dedication and smart deal making, Rex rose through the ranks to become CEO of ExxonMobil, one of the world’s largest and most respected companies,” Trump said in a statement issued by his transition team on Tuesday morning.

Read more here.

President-elect Donald Trump has picked Goldman Sachs President and Chief Operating Officer Gary Cohn to be his National Economic Council director.

The selection makes Cohn the third Goldman veteran to be picked for a top position in the Trump administration. Steve Mnuchin — nominated to be secretary of the treasury — and senior strategist Steve Bannon both worked at the investment bank.

"A renowned business leader, Mr. Cohn will help to both design and coordinate the president-elect's America First economic agenda and make sure increasing wages for American workers will be a top priority," the Trump's transition team said in a statement.

Trump spent a considerable portion of his campaign attacking Hillary Clinton for her Wall Street connections. He also took plenty of shorts at Goldman Sachs and Wall Street elites. In May, he tried to ease concerns about having hired Mnuchin to join his campaign staff, insisting that he was not selling out.

Read more here.

Retired Marine Corps General John Kelly was nominated for the Secretary of Homeland Security, President-elect Donald Trump announced Monday.

“He is the right person to spearhead the urgent mission of stopping illegal immigration and securing our borders, streamlining TSA and improving coordination between our intelligence and law enforcement agencies,” Trump said in a statement.

Kelly was previously the Commander of US Southern Command where he oversaw US military operations in Central and South America and the Caribbean including overseeing operations at the Guantanamo Bay military base.

The 66-year-old lost a son, Marine 1st Lt. Robert Kelly, in Afghanistan 6 years ago and has spoken out about the sacrifices made by military families, the Military Times reported.

Read more here.

Donald Trump on Thursday announced Andy Puzder, the CEO of burger chains Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr., as his pick to serve as his secretary of labor.

Puzder, 66, runs CKE Restaurants, the parent company of the fast-food brands. He raised funds for the Trump presidential campaign and advised the candidate on job-creation policy. California-based CKE Restaurants has about 3,700 restaurants and employs about 75,000 people. More than 90% of its restaurants are franchised.

A high-profile critic of raising the minimum wage, corporate tax policy and regulation, Puzder will likely push to roll back much of the pro-worker legislation enacted by the current administration.

“Andy Puzder has created and boosted the careers of thousands of Americans, and his extensive record fighting for workers makes him the ideal candidate to lead the Department of Labor,” Trump said in a statement. “Andy will fight to make American workers safer and more prosperous by enforcing fair occupational safety standards and ensuring workers receive the benefits they deserve, and he will save small businesses from the crushing burdens of unnecessary regulations that are stunting job growth and suppressing wages.”

Read more here.


Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt — who calls himself a “leading advocate against the EPA’s [Environmental Protection Agency] activist agenda” — has opposed the organization with letters and lawsuits throughout the Obama administration.

He has called the Clean Power Plan “unlawful and overreaching,” and spent much of his time as attorney general defending the oil and gas industries from regulators during the fracking boom.

A BuzzFeed News report last year revealed that Pruitt had mislead the Supreme Court on the availability of execution drugs. He later corrected himself, calling it an “inadvertent citation error.”

Trump called retired Gen. James Mattis "the closest thing to Gen. George Patton that we have and it’s about time" when he appointed him to the position."

Mattis, who goes by “Mad Dog,” will only be able to serve as defense secretary if Congress passes legislation to bypass a federal law that requires defense secretaries to have ended their service seven year prior to holding the position. He retired less than four years ago as the head of US Central Command.

In the past, Mattis has railed against what he calls the Obama administration’s “short-sighted” social programs in the military, calling them political appeasements.

In a video interview with the Military Times, Mattis cautioned against the use of the military “to lead social change in this country, especially social change that the country itself is not unified on.”

Mnuchin is a Goldman Sachs veteran, working for the investment bank from the mid-1980s through 2002. He founded his own firm, Dune Capital Management, in 2004. He has also had a successful stint in Hollywood, producing movies including Suicide Squad, Entourage, and Mad Max: Fury Road.

Before heading Trump’s fundraising operation, Mnuchin was best known for his role in buying up the assets of IndyMac, a failed California mortgage lender, and turning it into OneWest in 2008.

“Steve Mnuchin is a world-class financier, banker and businessman, and has played a key role in developing our plan to build a dynamic, booming economy that will create millions of jobs,” Trump said in a statement. “His expertise and pro-growth ideas make him the ideal candidate to serve as Secretary of the Treasury.”

When he accepted Trump's offer as US Ambassador to China, current Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad said in a statement that over the course of 30 years, he and Chinese President Xi Jinping "have developed a respect and admiration for each other, our people and our cultures.

"Ensuring the countries with the two largest economies and two largest militaries in the world maintain a collaborative and cooperative relationship is needed more now than ever," he added.

Xi has visited Iowa twice, and Republicans say he has not forgotten the state's hospitality. Branstad has also paid China multiple visits.

His moderate temperament and close association with China contradicts Trump's frequent anti-China rhetoric sparking tensions between the two countries that was recently amplified when Trump spoke on the phone with Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen.

"The President-elect understands my unique relationship to China and has asked me to serve in a way I had not previously considered," Branstad said.

Linda McMahon is a former CEO of the WWE and former candidate for the US Senate.

The Small Business Administration helps “Americans start, build and grow businesses,” according mission statement of the independent agency of the federal government.

“My America First agenda is going to bring back our jobs and roll back the burdensome regulations that are hurting our middle class workers and small businesses,” said President-elect Trump in a transition team press release.

“To help push our agenda forward, I am pleased to nominate Linda McMahon as the head of the Small Business Administration.”

Read more about Trump's history with McMahon and the WWE here.

Ross is a former Democrat but a donor and longtime associate of Trump. Like Trump, Ross is a vocal critic of free trade agreements.

For 25 years, he headed Rothschild Inc. where he bought struggling companies in the steel and coal industries and restructured them. He started his investment firm WL Ross & Co. in 2000 and served as Trump’s top economic adviser on trade policy.

“Wilbur Ross is a champion of American manufacturing and knows how to help companies succeed,” Trump said in a statement.

Chao is the wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the first Asian-American woman to hold a Cabinet-level position, having served as the 24th labor secretary from 2001-09.

“Secretary Chao’s extensive record of strong leadership and her expertise are invaluable assets in our mission to rebuild our infrastructure in a fiscally responsible manner,” said Trump in a statement. “She has an amazing life story and has helped countless Americans in her public service career."

Chao said she would be honored to serve in the role.

"The President-elect has outlined a clear vision to transform our country's infrastructure, accelerate economic growth and productivity, and create good paying jobs across the country,” she said in a statement."

Price is a Republican congressman from Georgia who is among the few lawmakers to propose an actual strategy for dismantling the Affordable Care Act.

The president-elect called Price a “renowned physician,” a “problem solver,” and a “go-to expert on healthcare policy.”

“He is exceptionally qualified to shepherd our commitment to repeal and replace Obamacare and bring affordable and accessible healthcare to every American. I am proud to nominate him as Secretary of Health and Human Services,” Trump said in a statement.

Price said in a statement that he was honored by the nomination and is “humbled by the incredible challenges that lay ahead.”

“There is much work to be done to ensure we have a healthcare system that works for patients, families, and doctors; that leads the world in the cure and prevention of illness; and that is based on sensible rules to protect the well-being of the country while embracing its innovative spirit,” he said.

DeVos, once a supporter of the the Common Core, now opposes it, two people close to DeVos told BuzzFeed News on Monday.

But hardline Common Core opponents, including conservative websites and activist parent organizations, have already denounced DeVos, who sits on the board of several organizations that support the Common Core.

“Governor Haley has a proven track record of bringing people together regardless of background or party affiliation to move critical policies forward for the betterment of her state and our country,” Trump said in a statement.

If confirmed by the Senate, Haley’s appointment would be her first in a federal role.

Haley was “honored” to have received the nomination, she said. “Our country faces enormous challenges here at home and internationally,” she continued in a statement.

In a statement explaining why he selected the neurosurgeon and former Republican presidential candidate, Trump said, "Ben Carson has a brilliant mind and is passionate about strengthening communities and families within those communities."

Trump added that the two have "talked at length about my urban renewal agenda and our message of economic revival, very much including our inner cities. Ben shares my optimism about the future of our country and is part of ensuring that this is a Presidency representing all Americans. He is a tough competitor and never gives up.”

Dr. Carson said he was "honored" to serve the Trump administration. “I feel that I can make a significant contribution particularly by strengthening communities that are most in need. We have much work to do in enhancing every aspect of our nation and ensuring that our nation’s housing needs are met.”

When Trump meet with Sessions before formally offering him the position, he was pleased with his past experience, according to a statement from his transition team.

Trump said that Sessions is “greatly admired by legal scholars and virtually everyone who knows him.”

In 1986, when he was a US attorney, Sessions ran for a federal judge position but was ultimately rejected after employees and other colleagues alleged that he had made racist statements about civil rights groups.

Sessions' nomination will need to be confirmed by the Senate.

Pompeo is one of the most vocal critics of the Obama administration’s deal with Iran that eased oil and financial sanctions on the country in exchange for dismantling large portions of its nuclear program.

Pompeo, a three-term Kansas representative, also served on the House Select Benghazi Committee and criticized Hillary Clinton's actions as secretary of state during the 2012 attack in Libya that killed four Americans.

“I am honored to have been given this opportunity to serve and to work alongside President-elect Donald J. Trump to keep America safe,” Pompeo said in a statement on Friday.

“I am pleased that Lieutenant General Michael Flynn will be by my side as we work to defeat radical Islamic terrorism, navigate geopolitical challenges and keep Americans safe at home and abroad,” Trump said in a statement.

Flynn, who had advised Trump through his campaign and was once considered a potential running mate, served as the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, the service that specializes in providing intelligence to the military until he was forced out in 2014 after reported leadership clashes.

Flynn was an early supporter of Trump during the campaign and heavily criticized Clinton for her use of a private email server.

“I am deeply humbled and honored to accept the position as National Security Advisor to serve both our country and our nation’s next President, Donald J. Trump,” Flynn said in a statement.

KT McFarland, a Fox News commentator who served in the White House under President Ronald Reagan, will work alongside Gen. Flynn.

McFarland has frequently criticized President Obama's stance on terrorism, and, like Flynn, has called on him to acknowledge the threat of "radical Islamic terrorism."

After a senior adviser to Trump's transition team confirmed the pick to Bloomberg Friday, Flynn tweeted that he was "So proud and honored to have KT McFarland as part of our National Security team. She will help us #MAGA".

In a statement, Trump praised McFarland's tremendous experience and innate talent that will complement the fantastic team we are assembling, which is crucial because nothing is more important than keeping our people safe."

McFarland was deputy assistant secretary of defense for public affairs under Reagan, and worked as a national security analyst for decades following her time in the White House. In 2006 she ran an unsuccessful campaign for the Republican Senate nominee in New York.

McGhan has been a legal advisor on Trump's campaign and transition team.

McGhan is a successful corporate lawyer and the former chairman of the Federal Election Commission. He has longstanding — though not entirely pleasant — familial ties with the Trump family, Politico reported. His uncle was Trump's lawyers in the 1990s, until Trump fired and sued him.

“Don has a brilliant legal mind, excellent character, and a deep understanding of constitutional law,” said Trump in a statement Friday. “He will play a critical role in our administration, and I am grateful that he is willing to serve our country at such a high-level capacity.”

McGhan's primary role in the beginning of Trump's presidency will be sorting out the complex ties between Trump's businesses and investments with the decisions he must make as president, as well as possibly setting up a "blind trust" to manage Trump's domestic and foreign holdings and assets.

“I am honored to continue advising President-elect Trump in the Trump-Pence Administration,” McGahn said in the same statement. “President-elect Trump is a bold leader committed to draining the swamp in Washington and restoring economic prosperity and security. I look forward to serving the American public in this role.”

Bannon first served as Trump campaign's CEO and his appointment as chief strategist has drawn criticism from political strategists and anti-discrimination groups.

The Anti-Defamation League said, “It is a sad day when a man who presided over the premier website of the ‘alt-right’ — a loose-knit group of white nationalists and unabashed anti-Semites and racists — is slated to be a senior staff member in the ‘people’s house.’”

Priebus and Steve Bannon were the first two people to join the Trump administration.

“Steve [Bannon] and Reince are highly qualified leaders who worked well together on our campaign and led us to a historic victory. Now I will have them both with me in the White House as we work to make America great again,” Trump said in a statement.

“It is truly an honor to join President-elect Trump in the White House as his Chief of Staff,” Priebus said in a statement. “I am very grateful to the President-elect for this opportunity to serve him and this nation as we work to create an economy that works for everyone, secure our borders, repeal and replace Obamacare, and destroy radical Islamic terrorism. He will be a great President for all Americans.”



Mary Ann Georgantopoulos is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Mary Ann Georgantopoulos at maryann.georgantopoulos@buzzfeed.com.

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.