Trump starts considering Cabinet

Greg Nash

CLEVELAND — Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is already focused on picking people for his future Cabinet.

A day before accepting his party’s nomination and completing an astonishing political rise that has taken him to the heights of the Republican Party’s power, Trump met with his inner circle at the Cleveland Westin to discuss his possible transition.

{mosads}Eric Trump told The Hill that his father is determined to put together a Cabinet that can help him turn around the country. He suggested his father would look to the private sector to find effective leadership for government.

“You have to have the best people, and you have to put those people in charge, and those people have to be the best at what they do, and that’s going to be my father’s message,” Trump said.

“If we’re going to have the biggest deals in the world, which are trade deals, why not have the best guys negotiate this? Why not have the Carl Icahns or the top guys of Wall Street?” he added. “It’s why they’re worth millions and billions of dollars. It’s because they’re tough and they’re shrewd.”

Donald Trump recently floated former Goldman Sachs executive Steve Mnuchin as a possible choice to head the Treasury Department, a development first reported by Fortune. Mnuchin serves as the national finance chairman of his campaign.

Icahn, one of the nation’s savviest investors, said last year he was not interested in heading Treasury.

“You’ll probably see a lot of people who are outside traditional Washington, D.C.,” Eric Trump added. “The people who are in there right now haven’t exactly done this country wonders.”

Various congressional Republicans have already met with Trump to suggest cabinet picks or to position themselves for high-level jobs.

Another option for Treasury — though not a front-runner — is Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), who was among the first chairmen in the House to endorse Donald Trump. If he doesn’t get it, he could also be up for another post with oversight of the banking industry. He now chairs the Financial Services panel.

Hensarling is close to Trump’s running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, with whom he worked closely in the House to oppose earmarks, clashing with GOP leaders at the time.

Pence spoke with Hensarling and exchanged texts after learning he was on the vice presidential shortlist.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is chairing the transition team, which has batted around a variety of names in recent days.

And Christie, who previously served as a U.S. attorney, is a leading candidate to step in as Trump’s attorney general.

Another name under consideration is Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and a former U.S. attorney and state attorney general. For months Sessions was the only member of the Senate who backed Trump.

While Christie has been more active on the campaign trail on behalf of Trump, Sessions would be a more popular pick with conservatives.

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who guided New York through the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, is viewed as a strong pick to head the Department of Homeland Security.

Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who has a strong following among conservative activists and who threw his support behind Trump after dropping out of the GOP primary in early March, is a possible choice to head the Department of Health and Human Services.

Carson told “The Steve Malzberg Show” earlier this year that he had discussed with Trump a cabinet position or other role in the administration.

“I would think that Gov. Christie would be a superb attorney general, Rudy Giuliani has a record in security, Ben Carson at HHS,” said Jeff Lord, a Trump surrogate who served in Reagan administration.

One the staff level, Donald McGahn, a partner at Jones Day who advises Trump’s campaign and helped assemble the list of Trump’s potential nominees to the Supreme Court, is a strong contender to serve as White House counsel.

Campaign manager Paul Manafort could be tapped for White House chief of staff but is seen as more likely to return to the private sector.

Five of the most prominent candidates — Mnuchin, Christie, Sessions, Giuliani and Carson — demonstrated their loyalty to Trump well before he clinched the nomination in May, giving them an edge.

“A lot of these key folks will have a lot of influence in a Trump administration, whether they’re a cabinet-level official or one of those ad hoc advisers,” said Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.), one of Trump’s top surrogates in the House.

“Donald Trump’s very loyal. We’ve seen that again with the speechwriter,” he added in a reference to Meredith McIver, the wordsmith who accepted responsibility for lifting portions of a Michelle Obama speech from 2008 earlier this week that were used in Melania Trump’s speech.

The convention has given Trump’s allies a chance to audition for key positions in his administration, and some have performer better than others.

Christie and Giuliani earned high marks for providing some of the most electric moments on the floor, revving up the crowd in a week when questions of unity and enthusiasm have dogged the party.

The convention’s speakers also included Harold Hamm, an energy industry mogul who has earned hundreds of millions of dollars from fracking, and retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn.

Reuters reported Thursday that Trump is considering naming Hamm as his Energy secretary.

Flynn could be in the running for secretary of Defense or director of National Intelligence.

The names of several Republican senators have also been mentioned as future cabinet officers.

One Republican senator said Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.), who served in chief executive positions at Reebok and Dollar General, would be a strong candidate for secretary of the Commerce Department. Perdue’s 2014 Senate campaign, in which he ran as a business-savvy outsider, served as inspiration to Trump’s White House bid

Other Republicans think Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), who was briefly rumored to be in the running for the vice presidential slot, might have a shot at becoming secretary of State.

Former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) said Trump offered him a senior position when they met in Indianapolis earlier this month to discuss the vice presidency.

Gingrich told him that he wants to serve as a senior adviser with special authority to examine the federal bureaucracy and identify examples of waste, fraud and abuse.

“I said I want to be the senior planner for the entire federal government, and I want a letter from you that says Newt Gingrich is authorized to go to any program in any department, examine it and report directly to the president,” Gingrich said Tuesday at a reception sponsored by the law firm Dentons. 

Tags Bob Corker Donald Trump GOP convention Jeff Sessions Michelle Obama Mike Pence

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