Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
Culture > News

What You Need To Know About Trump’s Potential New Cabinet

Welp, now that the 2016 Twilight Zone theory is canon, I guess we have to get a little deeper into it, right? The U.S. has chosen a president-elect, and now the president-elect must select a brand new cabinet. Not cabinet as in the furniture, but as in trusted officials who will influence and help execute the president’s plans. If you weren’t paying attention in American gov and need a little refresher, here goes.

The Cabinet is a group of high government officials who serve the United States. All official Cabinet members must be confirmed by the Senate. The jobs include: Secretary of State, Secretary of Energy, Secretary of Education, Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Secretary of Homeland Security, Secretary of Health and Human Resources, Secretary of Housing and Development, Secretary of Transportation, Secretary of Treasury, Attorney General, Secretary of Defense, Secretary of Labor, Secretary of Agriculture and Secretary of Commerce. There are also high level officials who are not a part of the Cabinet, including the Chief of Staff, Chief Strategist, Ambassador to the United Nations and more. Every new president must select a brand new Cabinet, unless he or she inherits the job via the death of the previous president. So in the time between election and inauguration, most president-elects are called on to reveal their Cabinet, especially the most important members—the Secretary of State, Chief of Staff and Attorney General, Press Secretary and so on. Still with me? Cool. Moving right along.

Most presidents have mostly decided on a Cabinet, including intensely vetting potential hires and promising positions to those who make the cut, by the time they’re elected. That’s not the case for President-elect Trump, making his Cabinet selection process especially scrutinized. Rolling Stone reports that the president-elect didn’t really know the scope of his responsibilities, including hiring a completely new staff, before President Obama explained it to him. But now his team has gotten to work choosing people for the new Cabinet, and everyone’s watching closely—The New York Times, the Washington Post, Politico, The Hill and the BBC are all tracking his picks. (An interjection—Isn’t part of being a good businessman due diligence? As in knowing what you’re getting into before you get invested to take over?)

There have already been crazy shake-ups in Trump’s Cabinet selection. For one, Chris Christie has been replaced with Mike Pence, Congressman Mike Rogers suddenly resigned from the transition team, and overall there’s been a fair amount of infighting caused by disarray (and Jared Kushner, some gossip suggests). The overall Cabinet selection seem to be holding close to chest, which isn’t unusual for Washington insiders. So far, Trump has vetted campaigners and advocates for the job of his executives. But still, there is no clear direction to which roles these potentials might occupy, seind journalists and media outlets into a frenzy. So far, only two people have been revealed in his Cabinet, including Reince Priubus and Steve Bannon, the latter a highly criticized choice. But Trump seems to like the attention, tweeting about his mysterious choices. He has tweeted that none of “finalists” know who will make it into his Cabinet, minus the ones the team has already made. But we can’t wait for the season finale so here’s your comprehensive guide to the “finalists” and the confirmed members of his Cabinet.

Confirmed members

Chief Strategist: Steve Bannon, Former Head of Breitbart News: Let’s just say his reputation preceded him. White nationalists were jumping up and down at this appointment (which spells a giant DOOM for people like me, but digress). He’s supposed to be the ear to Trump which frightens the rest of the world, given his history as a alt-right political figure. 

Chief of Staff: Reince Priebus, Chairman of the Republican National Committee: The bridge of the operation. As a fixture of the “establishment” but also a huge advocate for Trump, Priebus has the know-how and the connections to make the administration successful. Priebus has never held political office before, but has been called a close friend by Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. These men are supposed to work closely with each other during the transition and in the days following the inauguration. 

The potential finalists

Sarah Palin, former Republican VP nominee & Former Alaska Governor: Another huge campaigner for the president-elect, Palin seems to be in prime position to snag a job in the Trump administration, perhaps as Secretary of the Interior. Not particularly juicy, but a cushy job nonetheless. 

Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House: The Speaker of the House from Georgia has been loyal to the president-elect since he became the clear winner of the primaries. According to multiple sources, despite Gingrich’s bashfulness at accepting a job in government, his name is being floated in several positions. Those include: Secretary of State, Attorney General and Secretary of Health and Human Resources.

Chris Christie, Governor of New Jersey: After the president-elect essentially decimated him during the primaries, Christie turned around and campaigned for him, reminding the world part of an absolute victory is to salt the fields, like the Romans did. He was supposed to lead the transition team but Bridgegate, a major scandal during his governorship, came back to haunt him. He’s been kicked off the transition team, but is rumored to still be in the running for Secretary of Commerce and other positions in the Cabinet.

Rudy Guilani, Mayor of New York: The former mayor of New York and Trump campaign surrogate (God help us all) was previously shopped around for the Attorney General, which he may have declined. After “cleaning up the streets of New York” as mayor (by mass incarceration of the city’s black and brown people through relative minor offenses like turnstile jumping—believe me, I was there) and having an unsuccessful run for president himself, it seems he has caught his second political wind on Trump’s sail. His name is being floated for Secretary of State, and potentially still Attorney General. However, because there is evidence countries have paid Giuliani for various reasons, Secretary of State might not seem like the most likely position (although we were wrong about Trump so…).

Michael Flynn, Former Lieutenant: Seems there is one thing sources do agree on. Lieutenant Michael Flynn seems like a shoo-in for the National Security Adviser position. He was an advisor to Trump on the campaign trail, but in order to be sworn in, he would need a waiver from Congress, due to a rule where officers who haven’t been retired for more than seven years can’t hold a position like this.

Jeff Sessions, Alabama Junior Senator: Another campaign surrogate, Jeff Sessions seems to be one many are dreading. According to Salon, Sessions is anti-immigration and a former criminal prosecutor. He apparently has risen among the ranks in Trump’s personal Cabinet. He is being considered for Defense Secretary, Attorney General and Secretary of State. 

Jamie Dimon, President of JP Morgan Chase: It was mentioned that Dimon was an option for Secretary of Commerce or Secretary of Treasury, which would make sense seeing that his entire background is the in finance. However, it is also rumored he has denied the job and wants no other job in the Cabinet.

Steven Mnuchin, Goldman Sachs executive and Hollwood Producer: Another banker, Mnuchin worked extensively with Goldman Sachs. He then decided to turn into a national finance chairperson for Trump. He is being considered for Secretary of Treasury.

People who declined offers

Dr. Ben Carson, Retired Neurosurgeon: Dr. Ben Carson was like Christie—a presidential candidate who didn’t make it to the podium and ended up being a surrogate for the president-elect. However, unlike the rest looking for a position in the fledgling administration, Carson actually pulled a “That’s… That’s too much responsibility for me…” and pulled out the consideration for the several positions including Secretary of Health and Human Resources or Secretary of Education, citing that he had no previous government experience. Someone tell him what he was running for before!

This list is changing by the day.

Dream McClinton is a graduate (!) of Georgia State University with a degree in Journalism with a concentration in Telecommunication. Her interests include creating visual art (of all types), watching reality television and traveling. She hopes to soon acquire enough money to pay off her student loans and build a life she loves.