Foothill Technology High School

President Trump’s cabinet picks

So far, President Trump has been very busy in his first days in office. Though before he even got confirmed, he started appointing the members of his cabinet. These positions hold a large amount of power in determining the next four years. Below are some of the most well-known and important positions. Many of the people on the list will be next in line after the Vice President, Speaker of the House, and President Pro Tempore. It’s important to understand who the people in power are and their level of preparedness for the position.

The “drain the swamp” factor refers to how involved the person is in politics. President Trump has generally referred to “draining the swamp” in regards to getting rid of Washington D.C. elites and people overly experienced in government (people who are out of touch with everyday people). A high rating simply means the person is an outsider and a low rating means they are experienced in the political sphere.

Attorney General: Jeff Sessions 

Party affiliation: Republican

Jeff Sessions is a senator from Alabama and has a degree in law. He supports some legal immigration but is strongly against illegal immigration. He doesn’t think any torture is legal and is in favor of good treatment of prisoners. He has been criticized for some of his personal racial viewpoints.

 President Trumps cabinet picks
Jeff Sessions

Secretary of Commerce: Wilbur Ross

Party affiliation: Republican

Wilbur Ross is an investor and former banker. He hasn’t been involved in politics and has a net worth of around $2.5 billion according to Forbes. He wants to get rid of bad trade agreements and make changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). He has said he would also like to put heavy tariffs on China. He has made money in the coal and steel industries.

 President Trumps cabinet picks
Wilbur Ross

Secretary of Defense: James N. Mattis

Party affiliation: Independent (has worked with both parties)

James N. Mattis is a retired Marine Corps General. He has a tough stance on Russia and looks favorably on North American Treaty Organization (NATO). He has come out in support of the Iran nuclear deal, something Trump has been against. He is expected to be in support of sending soldiers to the Middle East to fight the Islamic State (ISIS) and views the Iranian regime as the biggest threat to peace in the region. As Obama had previously appointed him to a different position, Mattis was confirmed by a landslide vote in the Senate.

 President Trumps cabinet picks
James N. Mattis

Secretary of Education: Betsy DeVos

Party affiliation: Republican

Betsy DeVos is an extremely wealthy donor to the Republican party as well as an education activist and self-proclaimed philanthropist. Aside from being a chairwoman for the Michigan Republican Party, she has had little in the way of actual work experience. Her views on education are controversial. She supports a voucher program and school choice for parents. These things in combination often make public schools receive less funding than they need. She is a large proponent of for-profit charter schools and is in favor of deregulating and stopping oversight of schools. Charter schools almost always have scores below the state average and are considered by many to take advantage of students and not educate properly. DeVos has received a lot of backlash after her nomination and has no support from teachers unions. Some Republican Congress members have supported her, though in her hearings she appeared to know little about education in the United States. She has come out in favor of common-core-like standards.

 President Trumps cabinet picks
Betsy DeVos

Secretary of Energy: Rick Perry

Party affiliation: Republican

Rick Perry is the former Governor of Texas. Many see him a somewhat ironic pick for energy secretary as he has previously advocated for the closure of the department. (He has since gone back on this statement). The energy department now primarily deals with nuclear weapons and national defense related to it, something Perry has no experience in. Like President Trump, Perry is known to have not believed in man-caused global warming (recently he did admit that some aspects are caused by human activities). Perry is a huge advocate for the use of fossil fuels. Many believe he is a fine choice for the position because of his leadership experience, though worry about possible dismantlement of regulations that protect the environment. He has been known to be influenced by lobbyists. He also was on the television show “Dancing with the Stars.”

 President Trumps cabinet picks
Rick Perry

Secretary of Homeland Security: John F. Kelly

Party affiliation: Independent (has worked with both parties)

John F. Kelly was a long time member of the U.S. Marine Corps and has more recently served as the Commander of the United States Southern Command under President Obama. He has parted with President Trump on two of his major campaign promises. First, Kelly has asserted that a wall alone would be completely ineffective and that working with other Central and South American countries to stop drug trafficking as well as help foster development would be far more effective. He is also against Trump’s plan to ban immigrants from Middle Eastern countries (virtually banning Muslims). He instead advocated for cooperation and tolerance. As he would have to carry out a ban and the wall, he has been trying to reassure those most worried. He is well-respected across the aisle and was easily confirmed by the Senate.

 President Trumps cabinet picks
John F. Kelly

Secretary of Labor: Andrew F. Puzder

Party affiliation: Republican

Andrew F. Puzder is the chief executive of CKE Restaurants (franchiser of Carl’s Jr.). He holds a law degree from Washington University School of Law. He is a long-time political donor of the Republican Party. Many have compared his personality and views to those of President Trump himself (like Trump he has been known to not care about political correctness), though he is more of a traditional conservative. He opposes paid sick leave and is starkly against the Affordable Care Act (as he says it hurts the restaurant industry). He doesn’t believe in raising the minimum wage. He has been known to protect business more than workers (as seen by him accepting a multi-million dollar salary while refusing to pay his workers a living wage and his suggestion to replace workers with robots).

 President Trumps cabinet picks
Andrew F. Puzder

Secretary of State: Rex W. Tillerson

Party affiliation: Republican

Rex W. Tillerson is the former chairman and chief executive officer of Exxon Mobil. He has been criticized for his close ties with Russia. President Trump has said that Tillerson will do what he can to dismantle the globalism and alliance-building that the department has previously encouraged. He would benefit personally from lifting sanctions on Russia, something that has caused both Republican and Democrats to believe he might not be the most impartial diplomat. Many Republican Congress members were more in favor of Mitt Romney or someone else for the position of Secretary of State. 

 President Trumps cabinet picks
Rex W. Tillerson

Secretary of the Treasury: Steven Mnuchin

Party affiliation: unknown

Steven Mnuchin is a former hedge fund manager and partner of Goldman Sachs. He has been criticized for his failure to disclose close to $100 million in assets (he said the forms were too complicated), his use of offshore accounts to get around paying taxes, and his behavior during the financial crisis of 2008. He would be involved in rewriting the tax code (which he has said he wants to simplify) and dealing with financial sanctions. He has also been a producer for Hollywood movies including “American Sniper” and “Avatar.”

 President Trumps cabinet picks
Steven Mnuchin

–Emma Kolesnik

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