Donald Trump's Proposed Cabinet Would Bring Some Fringe Figures In From The Cold

Not to mention his potential appointees are pretty much all white men.
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) is one of the people frequently discussed for a spot in a Trump administration.
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) is one of the people frequently discussed for a spot in a Trump administration.
Mike Segar/Reuters

WASHINGTON ― Now that the election is over, the D.C. ritual of jockeying for top positions in the next administration has begun. Insiders give the press names of candidates who are real possibilities; long shots, just to see what reaction they get; friends and, sometimes, even themselves.

So far, the names being floated for a Donald Trump administration largely have one thing in common: They’re men. And for the most part, they’re white men. BuzzFeed obtained one list of 41 names under consideration for Cabinet and top White House positions. Of those, only six are women. In other news stories listing potential appointees, no women are named.

Many of them are also fringe figures ― people who have never been in government or who have been out of government for some time and are itching to get back in.

Trump did not have the support of much of the Republican establishment, and many of the officials who would traditionally get into an administration now may be hesitant to do so for a leader they distrust. Trump may also block them since they didn’t support him. Meanwhile, some figures who have been lurking on the fringe may now have found a home with this unlikely president-elect.

Here are the people being discussed so far for some top positions:

Transition Chair: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) is currently leading Trump’s transition efforts, but if he no longer can ― he’s been tainted, for example, by the Bridgegate scandal ― tech billionaire Peter Thiel could replace him. Thiel secretly funded Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit that took down and once wrote that women getting the vote was bad for democracy.

White House Chief of Staff: Two top candidates for this leading role are believed to be Reince Priebus, the Republican National Committee chairman, and Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s first campaign manager who is currently a paid commentator for CNN. Steve Bannon, the chairman of the conservative Breitbart News who took a leave to be Trump’s campaign CEO, is another contender. Bannon’s website has peddled some of the major alt-right conspiracy theories and spread the vitriolic rhetoric that fueled Trump’s rise. Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway and veteran conservative operative David Bossie are other possibilities.

Attorney General: Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) is frequently talked about as a contender. Giuliani told CNN Thursday he would consider the job “if it really was just me and I couldn’t point to three others that would be just as good or better.” New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) has also been talked about as a front-runner, as have Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) and Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi (R). During the campaign, questions were raised about whether Trump improperly made campaign contributions to Bondi’s re-election effort to influence whether she investigated allegations against Trump University.

The attorney general oversees the Justice Department and enforces areas like civil rights. Giuliani has boasted that he made New York “safe” by implementing “stop and frisk,” a policing method that disproportionately affects black people and Latinos. He has also said “anything’s legal” during war. Two of Christie’s former top aides were recently convicted of conspiracy and fraud in the Bridgegate scandal, and their testimony has implicated the governor in their schemes.

Secretary of State: Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) are reportedly under consideration for this top job.

Defense Secretary: Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), one of Trump’s earliest supporters, has been mentioned as a possible defense secretary, as has retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who has also been floated as national security adviser. Although Flynn is being talked about, he actually can’t be Defense Secretary yet because he hasn’t been retired from the military for enough time. Other names are Stephen Hadley, who served as a top national security official to President George W. Bush; Rep. Duncan Hunter Jr. (R-Calif.) and former Sen. Jim Talent (R-Mo.).

Homeland Security Secretary: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) and Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke are on the list for this position. Clarke, who is African-American, has been a forceful critic of the Black Lives Matter movement and spoke at the Republican National Convention. He also called for Trump supporters to bring out “pitchforks and torches” to fight a rigged system. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) is also a possible pick. The department includes the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency that the senator argues should ramp up its deportations.

Interior Secretary: Forrest Lucas, a California oil executive, is considered a top contender. Venture capitalist Robert Grady and fracking mogul Harold Hamm are also being discussed, as are three women: former Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R), Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R) and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R).

Treasury Secretary: Steven Mnuchin, the former Goldman Sachs executive who was finance chair of Trump’s campaign, is reportedly on the short list. Trump received a significant amount of criticism when he unveiled his 13-member economic advisory team in August. There were six men named Steve on the list ― including Mnuchin ― but not a single woman. JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon is also under consideration, although he has said he would not be interested in the role. Other names are Wall Street veteran Carl Icahn and Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), who is chair of the House Financial Services Committee.

Education Secretary: Neurosurgeon and former GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson is being discussed for this post, as is Hoover Institution fellow Williamson Evers, who also worked in the Education Department during George W. Bush’s administration.

Commerce Secretary: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) and former Sen. Jim Talent (R-Mo.) make this list as well, as do former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R), former Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) and Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.). In the business world, financier Lew Eisenberg ― who also chaired a joint fundraising committee for Trump and the Republican National Committee ― is being discussed, along with the former CEO of steelmaker Nucor Dan DiMicco and billionaire investor Wilbur Ross.

Health and Human Services Secretary: Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R), retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) and former New Jersey state Sen. Rich Bagger (R) are the names at the top of the list.

Agriculture Secretary: One of the names on this list is Texas Agricultural Commissioner Sid Miller, who called Hillary Clinton a “cunt” on Twitter. Other names include Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R), former Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman (R), former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue (R), former Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R), National Council of Farmer Cooperatives CEO Chuck Conner, agribusiness leader Charles Herbster, Indiana dairy executive Mike McCloskey, Iowa agribusiness mogul Bruce Rastetter and Indiana farmer and congressional candidate Kip Tom.

Energy Secretary: Fracking mogul Harold Hamm and venture capitalist Robert Grady are the two names most frequently mentioned.

Labor Secretary: Victoria Lipnic, commissioner of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission since 2010, is frequently mentioned for this position.

Veterans Affairs: House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller (R-Fla.), who is retiring from Congress, is the man most discussed for this job.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article misidentified Jamie Dimon as the CEO of Goldman Sachs; he is the CEO of JP Morgan. A previous version of this article also misidentified Jeff Miller’s congressional district; he represents Florida, not California.

This article has been updated to include additional candidates.

Want more updates from Amanda? Sign up for her newsletter, Piping Hot Truth.

Before You Go

Popular in the Community