Trump’s Cabinet Report Card
One of the most important jobs of a President-Elect is the appointment of their cabinet. The cabinet secretaries head up all of the federal agencies and they advise the President in their respective fields. That being said, President-Elect Trump has started naming his appointments to his cabinet, and some of these are interesting choices to say the least. So, lets take a look at some of these appointments and see if they are good or bad. (Authors Note: I will be grading appointments an A, B, C, D or an F)
THE JOBS THAT REQUIRE SENATE CONFIRMATION
Secretary of State – Rex Tillerson
Considering that Mitt Romney was allegedly in the running for secretary of state, this choice is odd to say the least. Consider that Romney, like Rick Perry would have brought governing experience to the cabinet, not to mention Romney is a favorite of more moderate republicans and he caries himself like an elder statesman. That said, Tillerson baffles me. Rex Tillerson is the CEO of Exxon, not exactly the picture of Secretary of State. Tillerson does have connections with world leaders and powerbrokers that can be helpful in the coming years though. The problem is that many on both sides of the aisle think that Tillerson is a bit too cozy with Putin. That is only one of the criticisms being lobbed at Tillerson.
Secretary of Defense – James Mattis
I’ve already posted my opinion on this posting.
Secretary of The Treasury – Steven Mnuchin
Though this posting reeks of nepotism, it’s not a bad one. Mnuchin was Trump’s campaign finance chairman, but before that he had a long career in the private sector. He had a 17-year run at Goldman Sachs, ran his own hedge fund and was even a movie financier. Mnuchin knows money, which is helpful for this department.
Secretary of Energy – Rick Perry
Former Texas Governor Perry famously wanted to get rid of the department of energy when he ran for president in 2012. Though Governor Perry brings actual governing abilities to the cabinet, which is good, but not in that post. Though he is not without controversy. Perry had been a champion of the oil industry, he accused some environmental scientists of manipulating data for money and more recently he sat on the Board of Directors of the organization that was vying to build the Dakota Access Pipeline
Secretary of Homeland Security – John Kelly
I’m cautiously optimistic of the choice to nominate Kelly for the secretary of DHS. For one, he is more moderate than the choice of many republican hardliners. More importantly, Kelly was the commander of US Southern Command, meaning he oversaw military operations and deployments in Central and South America. As illegal immigration is one of the President-Elect’s biggest policy objectives, being familiar with the region south of the border could potentially be a good thing. Though as a former general, we do not know where Kelly falls on the political spectrum when it comes to immigration.
Secretary of Education – Betsy DeVos
Simply put, the nominee for the secretary of education did not attend public school. Her stance on public education (which this department is in charge of) is horrendous. The Washington Post reported “she has been a shining light to members of the movement to privatize public education by working to create programs and pass laws that require the use of public funds to pay for private school tuition in the form of vouchers and similar programs.” Say what you will about private vs. public education and school vouchers, but the person who is heading public education for the country should support it.
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development – Ben Carson
The once presidential hopeful came out and said he is too inexperienced for a cabinet post. Leaving the irony of that stamen coming from a man who ran for President, I don’t see it as entirely true. Carson is unqualified for the job at HUD, but not for HHS, The man is a retired Neurosurgeon. However he has some pretty whackadoo positions on poverty that can be problematic for this posting.
Director of the CIA - Mike Pompeo
Those old adages of those who speak the most know the least doesn’t seem to apply to Mike Pompeo. It is easy to know where he stands on a number of key policy issues, both directly linked to the CIA and not, because he will tell you. Pompeo has degrees from West Point and Harvard, an Army job as a tank officer and a seat on the House Intelligence committee. There were other options with less impressive resumes, I’m sure. Pompeo is in favor of mass surveillance, enhanced interrogation and CIA black sites and he is against asylum for Snowden. Interestingly enough, though his committee cleared the charges, he believes in a Benghazi cover-up conspiracy.
Attorney General – Jeff Sessions
If a resume were the only thing being looked at with these confirmation hearings, Jeff Sessions would have the job all locked up. He was a Prosecutor at the Department of Justice for 15 years and he’s been a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee for years. Though, Sessions has had accusations of racism following him throughout his career and it even cost him a federal judgeship in 1986. In 2014 he was given the title of ‘Amnesty’s worst enemy,” as the former Senator is staunchly anti-amnesty and against any path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.
BONUS ROUND: The non-confirmable jobs
Chief of Staff – Reince Priebus
The man was the RNC chairman, and likely has a lot of connections on the hill that will make governing easier for the new presidency.
Chief Strategist – Stephen Bannon
My mom once told me; if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.