Cabinet of Donald Trump

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This article lists the cabinet of United States President Donald Trump, who assumed office on January 20, 2017.

The President of the United States has the authority to nominate members of his or her cabinet to the United States Senate for confirmation under Appointments Clause of the United States Constitution. Before confirmation, a high level career member of an executive department heads this pre-confirmed cabinet on an acting basis. The cabinet's creation is part of the transition of power following the 2016 United States presidential election.

This page documents the confirmation process for any successful or unsuccessful cabinet nominees of Donald Trump's administration. They are listed in order of creation of the cabinet position (also used as the basis for the United States presidential line of succession).

Contents

Announced nominees

All members of the Cabinet require the advice and consent of the United States Senate following appointment by the president prior to taking office. The vice presidency is exceptional in that the position requires election to office pursuant to the United States Constitution. Although some are afforded cabinet-level rank, non-cabinet members within the Executive Office of the President, such as White House Chief of Staff, National Security Advisor, and White House Press Secretary, do not hold constitutionally created positions and most do not require Senate confirmation for appointment.

The following have been named as Cabinet appointees by the President. For other high-level positions, see the list of Donald Trump political appointments.

Cabinet of President Donald J. Trump
  Individual elected into office, and does not serve at the pleasure of the President of the United States (all other cabinet members do)
  Individual officially confirmed by the United States Senate
  Individual serving in an acting capacity
  Individual took office with no Senate consent needed

Cabinet members

Office
Date announced / confirmed
Designee Office
Date announced / confirmed
Designee
Seal of the Vice President of the United States.svg

Vice President
Announced July 15, 2016
Took office January 20, 2017
100px
Former Governor
Mike Pence
of Indiana
75px

Secretary of State
Announced March 13, 2018
Took office April 26, 2018
100px
Former CIA Director
Mike Pompeo
of Kansas
US-DeptOfTheTreasury-Seal.svg

Secretary of the Treasury
Announced November 30, 2016
Took office February 13, 2017
100px
Former OneWest Bank CEO
Steven Mnuchin
of California
United States Department of Defense Seal.svg

Secretary of Defense
Announced June 18, 2019
Took office July 23, 2019
100px
Former Secretary of the Army
Mark Esper
of Virginia
Seal of the United States Department of Justice.svg

Attorney General
Announced December 7, 2018
Took office February 14, 2019
100px
U.S. Attorney General (1991–1993)
William Barr
of Virginia
Seal of the United States Department of the Interior.svg

Secretary of the Interior
Announced December 15, 2018
Took office January 2, 2019[n 1]
100px
Former Deputy Secretary of the Interior
David Bernhardt
of Virginia
US-DeptOfAgriculture-Seal2.svg

Secretary of Agriculture
Announced January 18, 2017
Took office April 25, 2017
100px
Former Governor
Sonny Perdue
of Georgia
US-DeptOfCommerce-Seal.svg

Secretary of Commerce
Announced November 30, 2016
Took office February 28, 2017
100px
Former WL Ross & Co. CEO
Wilbur Ross
of Florida
75px

Secretary of Labor
Announced July 12, 2019
Took office July 20, 2019
100px
Deputy Secretary of Labor
Patrick Pizzella
of Virginia
75px

Secretary of Health and Human Services
Announced November 13, 2017
Took office January 29, 2018
100px
Former Deputy Secretary of HHS
Alex Azar
of Indiana
US-DeptOfHUD-Seal.svg

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
Announced December 5, 2016
Took office March 2, 2017
100px
Former Neurosurgeon
Ben Carson
of Florida
US-DeptOfTransportation-Seal.svg

Secretary of Transportation
Announced November 29, 2016
Took office January 31, 2017
100px
Former Secretary of Labor
Elaine Chao
of Kentucky
Seal of the United States Department of Energy.svg

Secretary of Energy
Announced December 14, 2016
Took office March 2, 2017
100px
Former Governor
Rick Perry
of Texas
US-DeptOfEducation-Seal.svg

Secretary of Education
Announced November 23, 2016
Took office February 7, 2017
100px
Former Michigan GOP Chair
Betsy DeVos
of Michigan
Seal of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.svg

Secretary of Veterans Affairs
Announced May 18, 2018
Took office July 30, 2018
100px
Former USD (P&R)
Robert Wilkie
of North Carolina
Seal of the United States Department of Homeland Security.svg

Secretary of Homeland Security
Announced April 7, 2019
Took office April 11, 2019
100px
CBP Commissioner
Kevin McAleenan
of Hawaii

Cabinet-level officials

Office
Date announced / confirmed
Designee Office
Date announced / confirmed
Designee
US-WhiteHouse-Logo.svg

White House Chief of Staff[n 2]
Announced December 14, 2018
Took office January 2, 2019
100px
Former U.S. Representative
Mick Mulvaney
of South Carolina
US-TradeRepresentative-Seal.svg

United States Trade Representative
Announced January 3, 2017
Took office May 15, 2017
100px
Former Deputy USTR
Robert Lighthizer
of Florida
US-OfficeOfManagementAndBudget-Seal.svg

Director of the Office of Management and Budget
Announced December 16, 2016
Took office February 16, 2017
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence.svg

Director of National Intelligence
Announced January 7, 2017
Took office March 16, 2017
100px
Former U.S. Senator
Dan Coats
of Indiana
Seal of the Central Intelligence Agency.svg

Director of the Central Intelligence Agency
Announced March 13, 2018
Took office April 26, 2018[n 3]
100px
Former CIA Deputy Director
Gina Haspel
of Kentucky
Environmental Protection Agency logo.svg

Administrator of the
Environmental Protection Agency

Announced July 5, 2018
Took office July 9, 2018[n 4]
100px
Former EPA Deputy Administrator
Andrew Wheeler
of Virginia
US-SmallBusinessAdmin-Seal.svg

Administrator of the
Small Business Administration

Announced March 29, 2019
Took office April 13, 2019
100px
SBA General Counsel
Chris Pilkerton
of New York
  1. Bernhardt served as Acting Secretary from January 2, 2019 to April 11, 2019.
  2. Officially Mulvaney carries the title of "Acting White House Chief of Staff", but since the position does not require confirmation by the U.S. Senate, the title "acting" does not impact the authority of the position.[1]
  3. Haspel served as Acting Director from April 26, 2018 to May 21, 2018.
  4. Wheeler served as Acting Administrator from July 9, 2018 to February 28, 2019.
Source: Trump Administration[2] and NPR[3]

Confirmation process timeline

Cabinet confirmation process
Office Name Announcement Hearing date Senate
Committee
vote date
Senate
Committee
vote
Full Senate
vote date
Confirmation[4] Notes
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson December 13, 2016 January 11, 2017 January 23, 2017 11–10[5] February 1, 2017 56–43[6] Hearings.[lower-alpha 1]
Mike Pompeo March 13, 2018 April 12, 2018 April 23, 2018 11–9[7] April 26, 2018 57–42[8] Hearings.[lower-alpha 2]
Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin November 30, 2016 January 19, 2017 February 1, 2017 14–0[9] February 13, 2017 53–47[10] Hearings.[lower-alpha 3]
Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis December 1, 2016 January 12, 2017 January 18, 2017 26–1[11] January 20, 2017 98–1[12] Hearings.[lower-alpha 4]
Patrick Shanahan May 9, 2019 Nomination withdrawn on June 18, 2019
Mark Esper June 24, 2019 July 16, 2019 July 18, 2019 Voice vote (26–1)[13] July 23, 2019 90–8[14] Hearings.[lower-alpha 5]
Attorney General Jeff Sessions November 18, 2016 January 10, 2017 February 1, 2017 11–9[15][16] February 8, 2017 52–47[17] Hearings.[lower-alpha 6]
William Barr December 7, 2018 January 15, 2019 February 7, 2019 12–10[18] February 14, 2019 54–45[19] Hearings.[lower-alpha 7]
Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke December 15, 2016 January 17, 2017 January 31, 2017 16–6[20] March 1, 2017 68–31[21] Hearings.[lower-alpha 8]
David Bernhardt February 4, 2019 March 28, 2019 April 4, 2019 14–6[22] April 11, 2019 56–41[23] Hearings.[lower-alpha 9]
Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue January 18, 2017 March 23, 2017 March 30, 2017 Voice vote (19–1)[24] April 24, 2017 87–11[25] Hearings.[lower-alpha 10]
Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross November 30, 2016 January 18, 2017 January 24, 2017 Voice vote[26] February 27, 2017 72–27[27] Hearings.[lower-alpha 11]
Secretary of Labor Andrew Puzder December 8, 2016 Nomination withdrawn on February 15, 2017[28]
Alex Acosta February 16, 2017 March 22, 2017 March 30, 2017 12–11[29] April 27, 2017 60–38[30] Hearings.[lower-alpha 12]
Eugene Scalia July 18, 2019 TBD TBD TBD TBD TBD Hearings.
Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price November 29, 2016 January 18, 2017 February 1, 2017 14–0[9] February 10, 2017 52–47[31] Hearings.[lower-alpha 13]
Alex Azar November 13, 2017 November 29, 2017 January 17, 2018 15–12[32] January 24, 2018 55–43[33] Hearings.[lower-alpha 14]
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson December 5, 2016 January 12, 2017 January 24, 2017 23–0[34] March 2, 2017 58–41[35] Hearings.[lower-alpha 15]
Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao November 29, 2016 January 11, 2017 January 24, 2017 Voice vote[36] January 31, 2017 93–6[37] Hearings.[lower-alpha 16]
Secretary of Energy Rick Perry December 14, 2016 January 19, 2017 January 31, 2017 16–7[20] March 2, 2017 62–37[38] Hearings.[lower-alpha 17]
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos November 23, 2016 January 17, 2017 January 31, 2017 12–11[39] February 7, 2017 51–50[40] Hearings.[lower-alpha 18]
Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin January 11, 2017 February 1, 2017 February 7, 2017 15–0[41] February 13, 2017 100–0[42] Hearings.[lower-alpha 19]
Ronny Jackson March 28, 2018 Nomination withdrawn on April 26, 2018[43]
Robert Wilkie May 18, 2018 June 27, 2018 July 10, 2018 14–1[44] July 23, 2018 86–9[45] Hearings.[lower-alpha 20]
Secretary of Homeland Security John F. Kelly December 7, 2016 January 10, 2017 January 18, 2017 Voice vote (14–1)[46] January 20, 2017 88–11[47] Hearings.[lower-alpha 21]
Kirstjen Nielsen October 12, 2017 November 8, 2017 November 14, 2017 11–4[48] December 5, 2017 62–37[49] Hearings.[lower-alpha 22]
Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer January 3, 2017 March 14, 2017 April 25, 2017 26–0[50] May 11, 2017 82–14[51] Hearings.[lower-alpha 23]
Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats January 7, 2017 February 28, 2017 March 9, 2017 13–2[52] March 15, 2017 85–12[53] Hearings.[lower-alpha 24]
Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley November 23, 2016 January 18, 2017 January 24, 2017 Voice vote (19–2)[54] January 24, 2017 96–4[55] Hearings.[lower-alpha 25]
Heather Nauert December 7, 2018 Nomination withdrawn on February 16, 2019[56]
Kelly Knight Craft February 22, 2019 June 19, 2019 TBD TBD TBD TBD Hearings.[lower-alpha 26]
Management and Budget Mick Mulvaney December 16, 2016 January 24, 2017 February 2, 2017 12–11, 8–7[57] February 16, 2017 51–49[58] Hearings.[lower-alpha 27]
Director of the Central Intelligence Agency Mike Pompeo November 18, 2016 January 12, 2017 January 20, 2017 Voice vote[59] January 23, 2017 66–32[60] Hearings.[lower-alpha 28]
Gina Haspel March 13, 2018 May 9, 2018 May 16, 2018 10–5[61] May 17, 2018 54–45[62] Hearings.[lower-alpha 29]
Environmental Protection Agency Scott Pruitt December 7, 2016 January 18, 2017 February 2, 2017 11–0[63] February 17, 2017 52–46[64] Hearings.[lower-alpha 30]
Andrew R. Wheeler November 16, 2018 January 16, 2019 February 5, 2019 11–10[65] February 28, 2019 52-47[66] Hearings.[lower-alpha 31]
Small Business Administration Linda McMahon December 7, 2016 January 24, 2017 January 31, 2017 18–1[67] February 14, 2017 81–19[68] Hearings.[lower-alpha 32]
Jovita Carranza April 4, 2019 TBD TBD TBD TBD TBD Hearings.

Analysis

Due to Trump's lack of government or military experience and fluid ideological and political positions,[69] much interest existed among the media over his cabinet nominations, as they are believed to show how Trump intends to govern.

Trump's proposed cabinet was characterized as being very conservative by the media. It was described as a "conservative dream team" by Politico,[70] "the most conservative cabinet [in United States history]" by Newsweek,[71] and "one of the most consistently conservative domestic policy teams in modern history" by the Los Angeles Times.[72] The Hill described Trump's potential cabinet as "an unorthodox team" popular with conservatives, that more establishment Republicans such as John McCain or Mitt Romney likely would not have chosen.[73] CNN agreed, calling the proposed cabinet "a conservative dream team of domestic Cabinet appointments."[74] On the other hand, The Wall Street Journal stated that "it’s nearly impossible to identify a clear ideological bent in the incoming president’s" cabinet nominations.[75]

The Wall Street Journal also stated that Trump's nominations signaled a pro-deregulation administration policy.[76] The media also noted the fact that several of Trump's cabinet nominees politically opposed the federal departments they were selected to lead.[77]

The Washington Post noted that Trump's cabinet is the wealthiest in modern American history in terms of total personal wealth.[78]

NPR remarked that Trump's cabinet is made more largely of nominees who have business experience and minimal experience in the government when compared to the administrations of Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.[79] The Pew Research Center also noted that Trump's cabinet is one of the most business-heavy in American history. The think tank stated that "A third of the department heads in the Trump administration (33%) will be people whose prior experience has been entirely in the public sector. Only three other presidents are in the same range: William McKinley (three out of eight Cabinet positions, or 37.5%), Ronald Reagan (four out of 13 positions, or 31%), and Dwight Eisenhower (three out of 10 positions, or 30%)."[80]

History

Choosing members of the presidential Cabinet (and other high-level positions) is a complicated process, which begins prior to the November 2016 general election results being known. In the case of the Trump'16 campaign, his former rival for the Republican nomination Chris Christie was appointed to lead the transition team in May 2016, shortly after Ted Cruz and John Kasich suspended their campaigns (thus making Trump the presumptive nominee of the party). In addition to various other responsibilities, the transition team is responsible for making preliminary lists of potential executive branch appointees—at least for the several dozen high-level positions if not for the several thousand lower-level positions—and doing some early vetting work on those people. The transition team also hires policy experts (over 100 in the case of the Trump transition team by October 2016), using primarily federal funds and federal office space, to help plan how the hypothetical-at-the-time future Trump administration will implement their policy-goals via the various federal agencies and departments.

After the election in November 2016, when the Trump/Pence ticket defeated the Clinton/Kaine ticket as well as various third party opponents, the transition team was quickly reshuffled and expanded; Mike Pence was given the lead role (over Chris Christie), and several additional top-level transition personnel were added to the transition effort, most of them from the now-finished campaign effort. During the remainder of 2016, the team continued finding and vetting potential nominees for the various positions, as the Electoral College process was ongoing (including recounts in some states where the winning margin was relatively tiny) and prior to the presidential inauguration in January 2017.

President-elect Trump announced his first post-election Cabinet nominee, Jeff Sessions for the role of United States Attorney General, on November 18, 2016. (Trump had earlier announced Mike Pence as his pick for vice-presidential running mate in July 2016, which was shortly thereafter confirmed by the delegates to the Republican National Convention when they officially nominated first Trump and then Pence.) Although most positions were simultaneously under consideration by the transition team, the official announcement of offers, and the public acceptance of the offers, usually happens gradually as slots are filled (Richard Nixon being the exception).

President[81][82] Week
1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9
Week
10
Weighted
Average
Notes
Nixon '68 12 6.0 weeks The twelfth Cabinet role was quasi-privatized in 1971.
Carter '76 1 2 7 2 6.8 weeks New roles: Energy in 1977, Education in 1979.
Reagan '80 8 4 1 6.6 weeks Reagan was unable to abolish the federal Department of Education.
Bush '88 2 2 1 3 5 1 5.3 weeks New role: VA in 1989. The four earliest nominees were continuations of the Reagan Cabinet.
Clinton '92 4 6 4 7.0 weeks
Bush '00 1 5 8 7.5 weeks New role: DHS in 2003. Announcements of appointees were delayed by the Florida recount.
Obama '08 1 4 2 4 4 5.4 weeks Slightly differing figures are given in some sources.[81][83][84][82]
Trump '16 1 3 4 3 2 2 4.9 weeks There are officially fifteen Cabinet positions to nominate; Senate confirmation of nominees usually follows the inauguration.

For purposes of historical comparison, this chart only includes Cabinet roles, and not the cabinet-level positions. However, note that the number of Cabinet positions has varied from administration to administration: under Nixon there were twelve such roles in 1968, whereas under Trump in 2016 there are fifteen.

Trump's inauguration as president occurred on January 20, 2017.

Formation

After election day, media outlets reported on persons described by various sources as possible appointments to senior positions in the incoming Trump presidency. The number of people which have received media attention as potential cabinet appointees is higher than in most previous presidential elections, partly because the Trump'16 campaign staff (and associated PACs) was significantly smaller and less expensive,[85] thus there are not as many people already expected to receive specific roles in the upcoming Trump administration. In particular, "Trump ha[d] a smaller policy brain trust [policy group] than a new president normally carries"[86] because as an anti-establishment candidate who began his campaign by largely self-funding his way to the Republican party nomination,[87] unlike most previous presidential winners "Trump does not have the traditional cadre of Washington insiders and donors to build out his Cabinet."[88] An additional factor that tends to make the field of potential nominees especially broad, is that unlike most presidential transition teams who select politicians as their appointees, the Trump transition team "has started with a mandate to hire from the private sector [as opposed to the governmental sector] whenever possible."[88]

Cabinet

The following cabinet positions are listed in order of their creation (also used as the basis for the United States presidential line of succession).

Secretary of State

The nomination of a Secretary-designate is reviewed during hearings held by the members of the Foreign Relations committee, then presented to the full Senate for a vote.

Rex Tillerson

File:Rex Tillerson confirmation hearing (cropped).jpg
Tillerson at his confirmation hearing on January 11, 2017

On December 12, 2016, Rex Tillerson, CEO of ExxonMobil, was officially selected to be the Secretary of State.[89] Tillerson was first recommended to Trump for the secretary of state role by Condoleezza Rice, during her meeting with Trump in late November.[90] Rice's recommendation of Tillerson to Trump was backed up by Robert Gates three days later.[90]

Tillerson's confirmation hearing with the Foreign Relations committee was held on January 11, 2017. During the hearing, Tillerson voiced support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership and opposed a Muslim immigration ban that has been proposed by Donald Trump in the past.[91] Tillerson was approved by the Foreign Relations committee on January 23, 2017, by a vote of 11–10.[92] On Wednesday, February 1, Tillerson was confirmed by the senate 56–43.[93] Before Tillerson's confirmation, Tom Shannon was the acting secretary.

Mike Pompeo

On March 13, 2018, Trump dismissed Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State, and announced his nomination of CIA Director Mike Pompeo to the office.[94] Pompeo was confirmed by the Senate on April 26 in a 57–42 vote and was sworn in later that day.[95][96][97] Before Pompeo's confirmation, John J. Sullivan was acting secretary of state.

Secretary of the Treasury

The nomination of a Secretary-designate is reviewed during hearings held by the members of the Finance committee, then presented to the full Senate for a vote.

Steve Mnuchin

Trump announced the selection of investment banker Steve Mnuchin as Secretary of the Treasury on November 30, 2016.[98] The New York Times noted that Mnuchin's selection was surprising, since Trump had attacked the banking industry and Goldman Sachs during the campaign. Mnuchin is the third Goldman alumnus to serve as treasury secretary.[99]

During his confirmation hearing before the Senate Finance Committee on January 19, 2017, Mnuchin was criticized by Democrats due to the foreclosure practices at his company OneWest.[100] Mnuchin also failed to disclose, in required disclosure documents, $95 million of real estate that he owned, and his role as director of Dune Capital International, an investment fund in a tax haven. Mnuchin described the omissions as mistakes made amid a mountain of bureaucracy.[101]

Democrats of the Finance Committee boycotted the vote of Mnuchin and many other nominees in response to Trump's controversial immigration executive order. On February 1, 2017, Republicans suspended committee rules to send the nomination to the Senate floor on an vote of 11–0.[102][101]

Mnuchin was confirmed by the full Senate 53-47 on February 13, 2017. The vote fell along party lines with exception of Senator Joe Manchin as the sole Democratic vote for Mnuchin.[103][104] Adam Szubin served as acting secretary before Mnuchin's confirmation.

Secretary of Defense

The nomination of a Secretary-designate is reviewed during hearings held by the members of the Armed Services committee, then presented to the full Senate for a vote.

Jim Mattis

Trump informally announced the selection of General Jim Mattis as Secretary of Defense on December 1, 2016.[105] (The Trump Transition Team formally announced the selection on December 6, 2016.[106]) As with most cabinet roles, the Secretary-designate of Defense undergoes hearings before the appropriate committee of the United States Senate, followed by a confirmation-vote. In the case of Mattis, there was an additional step needed as he had retired from the military three years ago, since statute section 903(a) of the NDAA demands a minimum of seven years as a civilian for Pentagon appointees, therefore Mattis needed a waiver to be allowed to become Secretary of Defense.[107]

During his hearing, Mattis agreed with the assessment that debt was the greatest threat to national security. He placed Russia first among the "principal threats" facing the United States and called Iran "the primary source of turmoil" for unrest in the Middle East. In contrast with Trump's campaign promises, Mattis advocated for maintaining NATO and keeping the Iran Nuclear Deal. He urged for a clear cybersecurity doctrine to be implemented.[108][109][110]

On January 12, 2017, the Senate Armed Services Committee voted, 24–3, to grant the waiver. The full Senate voted, 81–17, to pass the waiver three hours later. After the Trump transition team canceled a meeting between Mattis and the House Armed Services Committee, the waiver narrowly passed the committee by a vote of 34–28. The House voted, 268–151, to grant the waiver.[111] The Senate Armed Services Committee approved Mattis' confirmation on January 18, 2017, by a 26–1 margin, and sent the nomination to the full Senate for consideration.[112] One of Donald Trump's first acts as president was the approval of Mattis' waiver to become Secretary of Defense. After being confirmed by the Senate on the evening of January 20, 2017, by a vote of 98–1, Mattis was sworn in by Vice President Pence on the same evening.[113]

On December 20, 2018, Secretary Mattis announced his intention to resign at the end of February 2019.[114][115] President Trump moved the departure date up to January 1, 2019.[116][117]

Attorney General

The nomination of an Attorney General-designate is reviewed during hearings held by the members of the Judiciary committee, then presented to the full Senate for a vote.

Dana Boente and Sally Yates

On January 30, 2017, Trump appointed Dana Boente, the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, to serve as acting Attorney General until Jeff Sessions' Senate confirmation.[118] Boente had replaced Sally Yates who was fired by Trump for ordering the Justice Department to not defend Trump's Executive Order 13769 which restricted entry to the United States.[119] Yates claimed that, "At present, I am not convinced that the defense of the executive order is consistent with these responsibilities [of the Department of Justice], nor am I convinced that the executive order is lawful".[120][121] Boente served until the confirmation of Jeff Sessions on February 9, 2017.

Jeff Sessions

Trump's selection of Senator Jeff Sessions from Alabama was officially announced on November 18, 2016.

Members of the Democratic party in the Senate had stated their intention to oppose Sessions; that said, successfully defeating the nomination of Sessions would have required peeling away the votes of at least two or three Republican members of the Senate body.[103] Republican members of the Judiciary Committee spoke favorably towards Sessions,[122] as Sessions had been a former member of the Judiciary Committee while serving as senator. Although Democratic party senators, including Elizabeth Warren, criticized Sessions, at least one Democratic Senator, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, stated he would vote to confirm Sessions.[122] Historically, there has never been a sitting senator appointed to cabinet position who was denied that post during the confirmation process.[122]

The confirmation process for Trump's nominee Senator Jeff Sessions was described as "strikingly contentious" by The New York Times;[123] as Senator Mitch McConnell invoked Rule XIX to silence Senator Elizabeth Warren for the rest of the consideration of the nomination. McConnell interrupted Warren as she had read a letter by Coretta Scott King opposing Sessions' nomination to a federal judgeship along with several statements which were made by Senator Ted Kennedy in 1986 during Senate hearings on Sessions' nomination. Afterwards, Warren live-streamed herself reading the letter, critical of Sessions, that Coretta Scott King had written to Senator Strom Thurmond in 1986.[124]

On February 8, Sessions was confirmed as United States Attorney General by a vote of 52–47, with all of the Republican senators and Democratic Senator Joe Manchin voting in favor of Sessions' confirmation and all other senators voting against Sessions' confirmation. Sessions' confirmation ended a nomination battle which was described by The New York Times as "bitter and racially charged".[125]

On November 7, 2018 – the day after the 2018 midterm elections – Jeff Sessions resigned as Attorney General at the president's request.[126][127][128]

Matthew Whitaker

With the resignation of Sessions on November 7, 2018, Trump appointed Sessions' chief of staff Matthew Whitaker to serve as acting attorney general.[129] Multiple legal challenges to Whitaker's appointment have been filed.[130]

William Barr

William Barr, a former U.S. Attorney General in the George H. W. Bush administration, was nominated to reprise his former role as the permanent replacement for Sessions. He was confirmed by the Senate in February 2019 by a 54-45 vote, and currently serves as Attorney General as of April 2019.[131]

Secretary of the Interior

The nomination of a Secretary-designate is reviewed during hearings held by the members of the Energy and Natural Resources committee, then presented to the full Senate for a vote.

Ryan Zinke

Congressman Ryan Zinke was announced as the nominee for Secretary of the Interior on December 15, 2016.[132] His nomination was approved by a 16–6 vote from the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on January 31, 2017.[133] Zinke was confirmed on March 1, 2017 by a vote of 68–31, becoming the first Navy SEAL to occupy a Cabinet position.[134][135] Before Zinke's confirmation, Kevin Haugrud served as the acting Secretary of the Interior. Zinke resigned as Secretary of the Interior on January 2, 2019. Deputy Secretary David Bernhardt became Acting Secretary of the Interior.[136]

David Bernhardt

On February 4, 2019, President Donald Trump announced his intention to nominate Interior Deputy Secretary and current Acting Secretary David Bernhardt to be the next United States Secretary of the Interior. Bernhardt was confirmed on April 11, 2019 with a 56-41 vote.

Secretary of Agriculture

The nomination of a Secretary-designate is reviewed during hearings held by the members of the Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry committee, then presented to the full Senate for a vote.

Sonny Perdue

On January 18, 2017, Sonny Perdue, former governor of Georgia, was selected to be the Secretary of Agriculture.[137] On April 24, 2017, Perdue was confirmed by the Senate in an 87–11 vote. Before Perdue's confirmation the acting Secretary of Agriculture was Michael Scuse.

Secretary of Commerce

The nomination of a Secretary-designate is reviewed during hearings held by the members of the Commerce, Science, and Transportation committee, then presented to the full Senate for a vote.

Wilbur Ross

Trump's selection of CEO Wilbur Ross from Florida (formerly of New York) was officially announced on November 30, 2016. Confirmation hearings were originally scheduled for January 12, but were postponed because the Commerce Committee had not yet received the ethics agreement from the Office of Government Ethics and the Department of Commerce.[138] On February 27, 2017, he was confirmed by the United States Senate in a 72–27 vote. He assumed office on February 28, 2017.[27]

Secretary of Labor

The nomination of a Secretary-designate is reviewed during hearings held by the members of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions committee, then presented to the full Senate for a vote.

Failed nomination of Andy Puzder

On December 8, 2016, Andy Puzder, CEO of CKE Restaurants, was officially selected to be the Secretary of Labor. The Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions committee (HELP) delayed Puzder's hearing five times due to missing paperwork from the Office of Government Ethics.[139] It was revealed that before the nomination Puzder employed a housekeeper who was not authorized to work in the U.S. Puzder failed to pay employer taxes. Puzder fired the housekeeper and amended his taxes only after his nomination.[140] Prior cabinet nominations from the Bush and Clinton administrations with undocumented housekeepers have had to withdraw their nominations.

On February 8, 2017, the Office of Government Ethics submitted Puzder's ethics paperwork to Congress.[141] It was also revealed Puzder's ex-wife Lisa Fierstein appeared in disguise on Oprah Winfrey's talk show in the 1980s. In the interview, she alleged Puzder beat her. She later recanted. Fierstein sent a letter to Congress shortly after his nomination stating, "Andy is not and was not abusive or violent." Complying with the HELP committee, the Oprah Winfrey Network produced tapes from the interview for members of the committee to view.[142] Four Republican Senators from the HELP committee - Susan Collins, Tim Scott, Johnny Isakson, and Lisa Murkowski - expressed doubt over Puzder's nomination.[140] On February 15, a day before his scheduled hearing, Puzder released a statement to the Associated Press officially withdrawing his nomination.[143]

Alex Acosta

File:DOL Secretary Alexander Acosta swearing in April 28, 2017.jpg
Acosta being sworn in as the Secretary of Labor by Vice President Mike Pence, on April 28, 2017.

On February 16, 2017, Alex Acosta, dean of the Florida International University College of Law and former Justice Department attorney, was officially selected to be the Secretary of Labor.[144] On April 27, 2017, Acosta was confirmed by the Senate in a 60–38 vote. Before Acosta's confirmation the acting Secretary of Labor was Ed Hugler.

Acosta announced his resignation on July 12, 2019, following widespread criticism of his handling of the prosecution of and subsequent plea deal with Jeffrey Epstein when serving as U.S. District Attorney in Florida.

Secretary of Health and Human Services

Although historically the nominee also holds meetings with the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions committee, officially the nomination of a Secretary-designate is reviewed during hearings held by the members of the United States Senate Committee on Finance, then presented to the full Senate for a vote.

Tom Price

Trump's selection of Representative Tom Price from Georgia was officially announced on November 28, 2016.[145][146][147] Price was confirmed by the Senate on February 10, 2017, in a 52–47 vote along party lines, with all Republicans voting in favor and all Democrats voting against.[148] Before Price's confirmation, the acting Secretary of Health and Human Services was Norris Cochran.

Price resigned on September 29, 2017, amid reports that he had expended more than $1 million of department funds for his own travel on private charter jets and military aircraft.[149] Price is the shortest-serving confirmed Secretary of Health and Human Services, with a tenure of just 231 days. Trump initially designated Don J. Wright, and then later on October 10, 2017, Eric Hargan, as acting Secretary of Health and Human Services.[150]

Alex Azar

On November 13, 2017, President Trump announced via Twitter that Alex Azar was his nominee to be the next HHS Secretary to succeed acting secretary Eric Hargan.[151] Azar was the former deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under George W. Bush (2005–2007)[152] and president of Lilly USA, LLC, the largest affiliate of global biopharmaceutical leader Eli Lilly and Company from 2012 to 2017. Azar was confirmed by 53–43 vote on January 24, 2018. He took office on January 29, 2018.[153][154]

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development

The nomination of a Secretary-designate is reviewed during hearings held by the members of the Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs committee, then presented to the full Senate for a vote.

Ben Carson

On December 5, 2016, President-elect Donald Trump announced that he would nominate Ben Carson to the position of Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.[155] During confirmation hearings, Carson was held under close scrutiny for his lack of relevant experience, and because he has been one of the most hostile critics of HUD's role in enforcing anti-discrimination laws.[156] On January 24, 2017, the Senate Banking Committee voted unanimously to approve the nomination, sending it to the Senate floor for a complete vote.[157] On March 2, 2017, Carson was confirmed by the United States Senate in a 58–41 vote.[158] Before Carson's nomination, Craig Clemmensen served as the acting Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

Secretary of Transportation

The nomination of a Secretary-designate is reviewed during hearings held by the members of the Commerce, Science, and Transportation committee, then presented to the full Senate for a vote.

Elaine Chao

On November 29, 2016, it was reported that President-elect Trump selected former United States Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao of Kentucky as his Secretary of Transportation.[159][160] On January 31, Chao was confirmed by the Senate by a vote of 93–6. Her husband Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) only voted present due to the conflict of interest. Before Chao's confirmation the acting Secretary of Transportation was Michael Huerta.

Secretary of Energy

The nomination of a Secretary-designate is reviewed during hearings held by the members of the Energy and Natural Resources committee, then presented to the full Senate for a vote.

Rick Perry

On December 13, 2016, Rick Perry, former Governor of Texas, was selected to be the Secretary of Energy.[161] During a previous presidential campaign, Perry said he intended to abolish the department.[162] His nomination was approved by a 16–7 vote from the United States Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources on January 31, 2017.[163] On March 2, 2017, Perry was confirmed by the United States Senate in a 62–37 vote.[164] Before Perry's confirmation, the acting Secretary of Energy was Grace Bochenek.

Secretary of Education

The nomination of a Secretary-designate is reviewed during hearings held by the members of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, then presented to the full Senate for a vote.

Betsy DeVos

File:Betsy DeVos final confirmation vote in US Senate tie broken by Mike Pence.webm
Vice President Mike Pence breaks the 50–50 tie in the Senate in DeVos's favor, confirming DeVos as Secretary of Education.

Trump's selection of former RNC member Betsy DeVos from Michigan was officially announced on November 23, 2016.

Originally scheduled for January 11, but was postponed because the Office of Government Ethics had not completed its review of DeVos' financial holdings and potential conflicts of interest.[165] On January 20, the Office of Government Ethics completed their ethics report on DeVos, three days after her hearing with the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions was held. Senate Democrats requested a second hearing for DeVos after the ethics report was released, but committee chair Senator Lamar Alexander denied it. DeVos repeatedly said that she would divest from 102 companies within 90 days if confirmed.[166][167][168] On February 7, 2017, the full senate voted 51–50 – with Vice President Pence casting the tie-breaking vote – to confirm DeVos, with Pence becoming the first vice president to cast the tie-breaking vote for a cabinet nominee [169][170] since Henry A. Wallace having his confirmation tie broken by Truman.[171] Before DeVos' confirmation, Phil Rosenfelt served as the acting Secretary of Education.

Secretary of Veterans Affairs

The nomination of a Secretary-designate is reviewed during hearings held by the members of the Veterans Affairs committee, then presented to the full Senate for a vote.

David Shulkin

On January 11, 2017, David Shulkin, the Under Secretary of Veterans Affairs for Health under President Barack Obama, was selected to be the Secretary of Veterans Affairs.[172] He was later confirmed by the Senate by a 100 to 0 vote. Before Shulkin's confirmation, Robert Snyder served as the acting Secretary of Veterans Affairs.

In February 2018, the VA inspector general issued a report criticizing Shulkin for misusing department funds to pay for his and his wife's personal travel.[173] On March 28 Trump fired him.[174]

Failed nomination of Ronny Jackson

Trump initially said that he would replace Shulkin with Ronny Jackson, his White House personal physician.[175] Senators expressed skepticism of the nomination due to Jackson's lack of management experience.[176] Current and former employees on the White House Medical Unit accused Jackson of creating a hostile work environment, excessively drinking on the job, and improperly dispensing medication.[177] Trump defended Jackson as "one of the finest people that I have met", but hinted that Jackson might withdraw from being considered for the position.[178] Jackson withdrew his nomination on April 26.[179]

Robert Wilkie

The President nominated Former Defense Undersecretary and VA Acting Secretary Robert Wilkie on May 18, 2018, to replace Shulkin. Wilkie was confirmed by the Senate on July 23, 2018, with an 86-9 vote. Before the confirmation, Peter O'Rourke served as Acting Secretary.

Secretary of Homeland Security

The nomination of a Secretary-designate is reviewed during hearings held by the members of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committee, then presented to the full Senate for a vote.

John Kelly

On December 7, 2016, John F. Kelly, retired four-star Marine general, was selected to be the Secretary of Homeland Security.[180] He was confirmed by the Senate with a vote of 88–11 and sworn in on the evening of January 20. Kelly's term ended on July 28, 2017, following his appointment as White House Chief of Staff; he was succeeded by Elaine Duke as Acting Homeland Security Secretary.[181]

Kirstjen Nielsen

On October 11, 2017, multiple sources reported Trump's interest in nominating Kirstjen Nielsen as Secretary of Homeland Security.[182] She had served as Principal Deputy White House Chief of Staff to Chief of Staff John F. Kelly.[183][184] On December 5, 2017, the Senate confirmed her nomination, by a 62–37 vote.[185] She took office the next day. On April 7, 2019, Nielsen resigned, with effect on April 11; she was replaced by Kevin McAleenan as Acting Secretary.[186]

Cabinet-level officials

Cabinet-level officials have positions that are considered to be of Cabinet level, but which are not part of the Cabinet. Which exact positions are considered part of the presidential cabinet, can vary with the president. The CIA and FEMA were cabinet-level agencies under Bill Clinton, but not George W. Bush. The head of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (aka the drug czar) was a cabinet-level position under both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, but not under Barack Obama. (Not to be confused with the head of the DEA, who has remained in the org chart underneath the cabinet position held by the Attorney General.) Designation of an agency as being cabinet-level requires[citation needed] that Congress enact legislation, although executive orders unilaterally created by the president can be used to create many other types of position inside the executive branch.[citation needed] Members of the cabinet proper, as well as cabinet-level officials, meet with the president in a room adjacent to the Oval Office.

Vice President

There were dozens of potential running mates for Trump who received media speculation (including several from New York where Trump himself resides). Trump's eventual pick of Governor Mike Pence of Indiana was officially announced on July 16, 2016 and confirmed by acclamation via parliamentary procedure amongst delegates to the 2016 Republican National Convention on July 19, 2016.


White House Chief of Staff

Trump's selection of former RNC chair Reince Priebus from Wisconsin was officially announced on November 13, 2016. This role does not require Senate confirmation. The appointment of Stephen Bannon as Chief Strategist was announced simultaneously. Although that strategy-role is not a Cabinet-level position in the statutory sense, in an "unusual arrangement"[187] Priebus and Bannon were envisioned by the Trump transition team as being equal partners, and were announced simultaneously.[188][189] See also, team of rivals.[190][191] With Priebus accepting a role within the administration, the person who replaces Priebus in his former role as RNC chair will be decided in January.

This position does not require confirmation by the Senate.

Director of the Office of Management and Budget

The nomination of a Director-designate is reviewed during hearings held by the members of the United States Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs then presented to the full Senate for a vote.

Mick Mulvaney

On December 13, 2016 Mick Mulvaney, U.S. Representative for South Carolina's 5th congressional district, was selected to be the Director of the Office of Management and Budget.[192]

Ambassador to the United Nations

Like all ambassadorships and all official Cabinet positions, the nominee for this Ambassador to the U.N. requires confirmation by the Senate. The nomination of an Ambassador-designate to the United Nations is reviewed during hearings held by the members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and then presented to the full Senate for a vote.

Nikki Haley

Trump officially announced Governor Nikki Haley from South Carolina as his selection for this role on November 23, 2016. She was confirmed on January 24, 2017 and subsequently resigned as South Carolina governor. Haley supported Marco Rubio in the Republican primaries and caucuses, but later endorsed Trump as the presumptive Republican nominee.[193] Haley's Lieutenant Governor, Henry McMaster, who was an early supporter of Trump,[194] was also under consideration for a role in the Trump administration, but since he did not accept such a role, he succeeded to the governorship of South Carolina upon Haley's resignation.

Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency

The nomination of an Administrator-designate is reviewed during hearings held by the members of the Environment and Public Works Committee,[195] then presented to the full Senate for a vote.

Scott Pruitt

On December 7, 2016, Scott Pruitt, Attorney General of Oklahoma was selected to be the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.[196][197]

United States Trade Representative

The nomination of a Director-designate is reviewed during hearings held by the members of the United States Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs then presented to the full Senate for a vote.

Robert Lighthizer

On January 3, 2017 Robert Lighthizer, a former Deputy United States Trade Representative under President Ronald Reagan, was selected to be the United States Trade Representative.[198]

Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers

In addition to the chair, there are two other members of the council (also appointed by the president), as well as a staff of economists, researchers, and statisticians. Historically, appointees to chair the council have held Ph.Ds in economics, and the role of the group is to provide advice in the form of economic analysis with respect to policy, as distinct from shaping economic policy per se.[199][200]

Trump released a list of his campaign's official economic advisers in August 2016,[201] which simultaneously was anti-establishment[202] and therefore lean on those with governmental experience,[203] yet at the same time aimed to include some of the elites of business and finance,[201] people with well-known names. Many of the names on the original list, or on the subsequent expansions thereof,[204] received media attention as potential appointees to the Council of Economic Advisers, or in other Trump administration roles.

Once a choice has been made, the nomination of a Chair-designate is reviewed during hearings held by the members of the United States Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs and then presented to the full Senate for a vote.

See also, various other Trump administration roles directly related to the economy: director of the NEC (Cohn), Fed Vice-Chair, SEC chair (Clayton), OMB director (Mulvaney), Treasury secretary (Mnuchin), Commerce secretary (Ross), U.S. Trade Rep (Lighthizer), SBA administrator (McMahon), and several others.

Administrator of the Small Business Administration

The nomination of an Administrator-designate is reviewed during hearings held by the members of the United States Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship and then presented to the full Senate for a vote.

Linda McMahon

On December 7, 2016 Linda McMahon, businesswoman and former Senate nominee, was selected to be the head of the Small Business Administration.[205][206]

See also

Notes

  1. Congressional hearings, CEO Rex Tillerson, Sec. State.
  2. Congressional hearings, Dir. CIA Mike Pompeo, Sec. State.
  3. Congressional hearings, Steven Mnuchin, Sec. Treasury.
  4. Congressional hearings, Gen. James Mattis, Sec. Def.
  5. Congressional hearings, Dr. Mark Esper, Sec. Def.
  6. Congressional hearings, Sen. Jeff Sessions, AttyGen.
  7. Congressional hearings, William Barr, AttyGen.
  8. Congressional hearings, Rep. Ryan Zinke, Sec. Interior.
  9. Congressional hearings, David Bernhardt, Sec. Interior.
  10. Congressional hearings, Gov. Sonny Perdue, Sec. Ag.
  11. Congressional hearings, CEO Wilbur Ross, Sec. Commerce.
  12. Congressional hearings, Alex Acosta, Sec. Labor.
  13. Congressional hearings, Rep. Tom Price Sec. HHS (HELP) (Finance).
  14. Congressional hearings, Alex Azar Sec. HHS (HELP) (Finance).
  15. Congressional hearings, Dr. Ben Carson, Sec. HUD.
  16. Congressional hearings, Sec. Elaine Chao, Sec.USDOT.
  17. Congressional hearings, Gov. Rick Perry, Sec. Energy.
  18. Congressional hearings, Betsy DeVos, Sec. Edu.
  19. Congressional hearings, Dr. David Shulkin, Sec. VA.
  20. Congressional hearings, Robert Wilkie, Sec. VA.
  21. Congressional hearings, Gen. John F. Kelly, Homeland.
  22. Congressional hearings, Kirstjen Nielsen, Homeland.
  23. Congressional hearings, Robert Lighthizer, U.S. Trade Rep.
  24. Congressional hearings, Sen. Dan Coats, DNI.
  25. Congressional hearings, Gov. Nikki Haley, U.N. Ambassador.
  26. Congressional hearings, Ambassador Kelly Craft, U.N. Ambassador.
  27. Congressional hearings, Rep. Mick Mulvaney, Dir. OMB (Budget) (HSGAC).
  28. Congressional hearings, Rep. Mike Pompeo, Dir. CIA.
  29. Congressional hearings, Gina Haspel, Dir. CIA.
  30. Congressional hearings, Okla. AttyGen. Scott Pruitt, EPA Admin.
  31. Congressional hearings, Andrew R. Wheeler, EPA Admin.
  32. Congressional hearings, Linda McMahon, SBA Admin.

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