The government that will be in the White House for the next four years is starting to take shape. Between Trump's cabinet appointments and transition team selections it is looking to be quite an unprecedented group of individuals. Who exactly are these people taking up positions and what are their qualifications? While some are familiar names such as Vice President elect Mike Pence, there are many other positions to be filled by individuals that are not nearly as well known to the American public.
Cabinet position appointments by Trump
The Cabinet of Donald Trump includes the vice president, as well as 15 other appointed officials selected by him. They are the highest-ranking members of the executive branch of the government, and each head their respective positions department. These Cabinet positions also require the advice and consent of the Senate after selection by the president. Below are the positions and individuals which Trump has selected to fill these Cabinet rolls so far.
The Attorney General is the highest position in the country regarding legal affairs. The United States Department of Justice is under their control and they act as its head.
On November 18 it was announced that Jeff Session had been selected as the new Attorney General. He previously served as the Attorney General of Alabama, and is currently a senator in Alabama since his election back in 1997.
Secretary of Education
The Secretary of Education is the head of the U.S. Department of Education. They are responsible for legislation dealing with education policy at the federal level.
On November 23 it was announced that Trump had selected Betsy DeVos to act as his Secretary of Education. She is wealthy billionaire and is married to Dick DeVos, whose father is Amway co-founder Richard DeVos. There have been concerns that she is not qualified for the position, as she has not held office before nor has she worked directly within education.
Under her leadership we will reform the US education system and break the bureaucracy that is holding our children back so that we can deliver world-class education and school choice to all families. — Donald Trump
There are still 13 cabinet positions to fill
Other cabinet positions to be filled include Secretary of State, Secretary of the Treasury, Secretary of Defense, Secretary of the Interior, Secretary of Agriculture, Secretary of Commerce, Secretary of Labor, Secretary of Health and Human Services, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Secretary of Transportation, Secretary of Energy, Secretary of Veteran Affairs and Secretary of Homeland security.
While there have been no other official announcements made there are same fairly likely appointments coming. These include Ben Carson for Secretary of Housing and Urban Development as well as Wilbur Ross for Secretary of Commerce.
Cabinet level positions for Trump
There are also many other high-ranking executive branch positions which are not officially cabinet positions. These may or may not require approval by the Senate depending on the position. So far the Trump transition team has made some interesting and unexpected selections for these rolls.
White House Chief of Staff
The White House Chief of Staff is often the most important position within the White House besides the president. They control who gets access to them and are known as the “gatekeeper” to the president. This position does not require Senate approval and is directly selected by the president.
It was announced on November 13 that Reince Priebus was chosen to be the Chief of Staff for Trump. Priebus has served as the Chairman of the Republican National Committee since 2011.
Ambassador to the United Nations
The Ambassador to the United Nations is responsible for representing the United States to the United Nations. They attend Security Council meetings as well as the meetings of the General Assembly.
On November 23 it was announced that Nikki Haley would receive the position of Ambassador to the United Nations. She is currently the Governor of South Carolina, being the first woman and member of a visible minority to obtain this position. While she has previously been involved in state level politics she does not have an prior foreign policy experience.
When the President believes you have a major contribution to make to the welfare of our nation, and to our nation's standing in the world, that is a calling that is important to heed. — Nikki Haley
Counselor to the President
The Counselor to the President acts as a high ranking member of the executive branch who advises the president. The position is not always filled, and has been left vacant for varying periods of time by different presidents including Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush. There is no Senate approval required for this position, so it is completely under the president's control.
On November 13 Steve Bannon was appointed as Counselor to the President. Bannon formerly worked for Breitbart as an executive chair, leaving his job there to serve as the Trump campaign's Chief Executive in August of 2016. Breitbart is a far right wing news and commentary website that has been accused by some of promoting content that is racist and misogynist. This has proved to be one Trump’s most controversial appointments so far, with a letter being signed by 169 Democratic House Representatives asking for Trump to withdraw the appointment.
National Security Advisor
The National Security Advisor is the main in house advisor to the president on national security issues. This position also does not require confirmation from the Senate.
On the 18th of November Michael Flynn accepted the position of National Security Advisor for the Trump Administration. Previously he worked as the Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency from 2012 to 2014 under Barack Obama. He was later removed from this position due to his leadership and management style.
Many other positions still to be filled
There are around 4,000 positions that need to be filled by the transition team come January 20th when the Trump Administration assumes control of the White House. Around 1,000 of these positions will require Senate approval.
Trump's unorthodox approach during the Republican primaries and the presidential election has carried over into the building of his administration. While he has made some more conventional selections, he has also shaken things up by appointing individuals with no experience in governance or placing people in areas that they have no prior history.