Trump's Cabinet begins to take shape

Trump's Cabinet begins to take shape
© Getty

President-elect Donald TrumpDonald TrumpMeghan McCain: Democrats 'should give a little credit' to Trump for COVID-19 vaccine Trump testing czar warns lockdowns may be on table if people don't get vaccinated Overnight Health Care: CDC details Massachusetts outbreak that sparked mask update | White House says national vaccine mandate 'not under consideration at this time' MORE is rewarding allies with top roles in his administration as he prepares to enter the Oval Office in January.

Trump is also showing a willingness to bury the hatchet with former rivals, considering some of them for Cabinet positions.

Here are some of the top names Trump has nominated or considered for his administration so far:

ADVERTISEMENT

Secretary of State

Mitt Romney appears to be the current front-runner to become the nation's top diplomat despite openly feuding with Trump during the campaign, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The former Massachusetts governor delivered a stinging rebuke of Trump in March, warning Americans about the businessman and calling him a “phony” and a “fraud.” Trump hit back, labeling Romney a “failed candidate” for losing the 2012 presidential race.

While the pair appear to have put the past behind them, some differences over national security seemingly remain, especially surrounding their views of Russia.

Romney slammed Russian President Vladimir Putin as a "thug" late last year as Trump praised the Russian leader.

Rudy Giuliani, one of Trump’s most trusted allies, is also seen as a top contender for secretary of State. The former New York City mayor was once seen as the favorite for the position.

Some Republicans have expressed concerned over Giuliani serving in the position, including lawmakers like Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - A huge win for Biden, centrist senators Only two people cited by TSA for mask violations have agreed to pay fine Senators reach billion deal on emergency Capitol security bill MORE (R-Ky.), who has come out in opposition to his appointment.

ADVERTISEMENT

The Journal reported that there’s an internal struggle between members of Trump’s team over whether the businessman should tap Romney or Giuliani –– or look elsewhere.

Secretary of Defense

Trump said he is “seriously considering” retired Marine Gen. James Mattis to helm the Pentagon.

The real estate mogul praised Mattis as “the real deal” and the retired general has earned an endorsement from Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainMeghan McCain to produce 'Don't Sweat the Small Stuff' Lifetime movie starring Heather Locklear An August ultimatum: No recess until redistricting reform is done Meghan McCain on Pelosi, McCarthy fight: 'I think they're all bad' MORE (R-Ariz.), the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
 
The president-elect has already indicated he listens to the retired senior military officer, who would require a special waiver from Congress to serve in the position.

During a meeting with The New York Times on Tuesday, Trump told journalists that he asked Mattis where he stands on waterboarding and was surprised to hear that he was opposed.

While campaigning, Trump embraced waterboarding as an interrogation method, despite international law banning the practice.

Attorney General

Sen. Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsWant to evaluate Donald Trump's judgment? Listen to Donald Trump Democrat stalls Biden's border nominee Garland strikes down Trump-era immigration court rule, empowering judges to pause cases MORE (R-Ala.) has been tapped to lead the Department of Justice.

Sessions was the first senator to back Trump and became one of his most trusted allies. The lawmaker is known as an immigration hardliner whose policies have complemented Trump’s focus on border security.

Still, the Alabama senator’s nomination set off a political firestorm among Democrats and civil rights groups who voiced concerns about Sessions overseeing the agency’s Civil Rights Division.

In 1986, he was denied a federal judge position over allegations that he called the NAACP and American Civil Liberties Union "un-American" and said he thought the Ku Klux Klan was "OK, until he learned they smoked marijuana." Sessions denied making some of the comments and said others were taken out of context.

Sessions is likely to be confirmed with a GOP-controlled Senate.

Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) was also named CIA director the same day Sessions was nominated.

Homeland Security Secretary

A number of names have been floated to lead the Department of Homeland Security.

Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee who helped advise Trump during his campaign, is among those in the running.

McCaul is considering a primary challenge to Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward Cruz228 Republican lawmakers urge Supreme Court to overrule Roe v. Wade GOP, Democrats battle over masks in House, Senate Human rights can't be a sacrificial lamb for climate action MORE (R-Texas) in 2018, but has indicated he’d be interested in a role in the Trump administration.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is also being considered for the role. He drew headlines for a photograph of himself meeting with Trump where he might have revealed his plans for the agency.

Other potential contenders include retired Marine Gen. John F. Kelly and Frances Townsend, a homeland security and counterterrorism expert who served in George W. Bush’s administration, according to The Washington Post.

Treasury Secretary

Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) has been mentioned as a contender and he met with Trump last week to discuss tax policy and financial regulations. He’s been a vocal opponent of the Export-Import Bank.

But the House Financial Services Committee chairman has said he isn’t seeking a position and doesn’t expect an offer, though he would still have the conversation if Trump’s team reached out.

ADVERTISEMENT

Steven Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs banker who was Trump’s national finance chairman, is another name for this position.

Secretary of Health and Human Services

Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), a former orthopedic surgeon, is seen as a front-runner to lead the Department of Health and Human Services, sources told The Hill.

Price has been a leading opponent of ObamaCare and introduced a bill last year to repeal and replace the law.

Trump has repeatedly vowed to dismantle President Obama’s signature healthcare law once he takes office, though in recent weeks he has signaled a willingness to keep certain parts of the law. Republicans expect to place ObamaCare high on the agenda next year with majorities in both chambers.

The chairman of the Budget Committee has also had a role in drafting the healthcare section of House Republicans’ “Better Way” agenda.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who is term-limited and a close Trump ally, was seen as a candidate for this agency, but ruled out an administration job in a CNN interview.

ADVERTISEMENT

US Ambassador to United Nations

Trump announced Wednesday that he tapped South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley to be U.N. ambassador.

Haley, who supported Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioBreak glass in case of emergency — but not for climate change Democrats join GOP in pressuring Biden over China, virus origins Senators introduce bipartisan bill to expand foreign aid partnerships MORE (R-Fla.) in the primary, also has a contentious history with Trump. She took a thinly veiled shot at Trump during the GOP rebuttal to the State of the Union and linked his rhetoric to the 2015 shooting at a black church in Charleston, S.C.

Haley, an Indian-American, was the first woman and minority to be named to a senior role in the incoming administration.
 
The two-term governor doesn’t have much foreign policy experience, though she’s spent time abroad when negotiating trade deals for businesses in the Palmetto State. If she’s confirmed, Haley would be the first ambassador since Madeleine Albright to go straight to the U.N. without serving in any other federal government job.
 
Secretary of Education
 
Betsy DeVos, a leading proponent of school choice and charter schools, announced Wednesday that she accepted Trump’s offer to serve in the top Education post. DeVos was the second woman nominated to Trump’s Cabinet, hours after Haley’s nomination was announced.

She currently serves as the chairwoman of the American Federation for Children, an education group that advocates for school choice policies.

DeVos, former Michigan Republican Party chairwoman, is a billionaire GOP donor who had withheld support for Trump and attended the Republican National Convention this summer as a delegate backing Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

She could face scrutiny over her previous support of Common Core, a set of education standards that Trump railed against during the campaign. DeVos backed Common Core when it was at the state level, but opposed it when it became a federal standard.

Secretary of Housing & Urban Development

After expressing disinterest in serving as secretary of Health and Human Services, Ben Carson said this week that he has been offered the top job at HUD.

Carson hinted in a Facebook post on Wednesday that he would accept a position in the incoming administration, though he has said he will be thinking it over during the Thanksgiving holiday.

Armstrong Williams, Carson’s business adviser, said the job at HUD matches Carson’s interests and that the retired neurosurgeon, who grew up in poverty in Detroit, could help rebuild America’s inner cities.

On the campaign trail, Trump made an appeal to minorities, specifically African-Americans and Hispanics, that he would strengthen inner cities.

Carson has yet to make an official decision, but Williams told The Hill last week that Carson has no government experience. “The last thing he would want to do was take a position that could cripple the presidency,” Williams said.