The ever-rotating team of hateful miscreants, convicted criminals, and plutocrats assembled by Donald Trump is such a filthy joke that, as a group, they can really only be described as The Aristocrats.
It’s important we know who these people are, where they come from, what agendas they represent, and (for god’s sake) the mistakes some of them are already making.
Require(d) Senate Confirmation (confirmed in green; still in process in red):
- Agriculture — Sonny Perdue
Former Georgia Governor, who, as Governor, signed legislation to crack down on illegal immigration.
Attorney General — Jeff Sessions
Current U.S. Senator from Alabama is the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee. This is a guy who Reagan’s Senate Judiciary Committee would not approve for a federal judgeship. And yet now, bygones?
Attorney General — Matthew Whitaker (acting)
Worse than Jeff Sessions? Well, yes.
- Attorney General — William Barr
Expanding executive power since 2019.
CIA — Mike Pompeo
Congressman from Kansas; big HRC-Benghazi guy.
- CIA — Gina Haspel
The first woman to head the CIA—and a Bush-era torturer.
- Commerce — Wilbur Ross Jr.
Another rich white guy. Shocking.
- Council of Economic Advisers — Kevin Hassett
Defense — James Mattis
Former Marine General. Mattis retired in 2013, which would make him legally eligible for this position in 2020. Unless a lapdog Congress passes legislation to bypass the federal law requiring a seven-year waiting period between a candidate going from active duty to secretary of defense.
- Defense — Mark Esper
Mmm hmm…. And Raytheon.
- Education — Betsy Devos
Heir to the Amway fortune; has consistently steered money away from public schools.
Energy — Rick Perry
Former governor of Texas, and the same guy who said he’d scrap the Department of Energy (because up is down and down is up with this administration).
- Energy — Dan Brouillette
Seemingly meh improvement over Rick Perry.
EPA — Scott Pruitt
A climate change denier as head of the Environmental Protection Agency!?
- EPA — Andrew Wheeler
A coal industry lobbyist as head of the Environmental Protection Agency. Because, of course.
Health and Human Services — Tom Price
Congressman (R-GA); outspoken critic of the ACA.
- Health and Human Services — Alex Azar
HHS general counsel under Bush 2; “a conservative’s conservative.”
Homeland Security — John Kelly
Former Marine General, and proponent of Guantánamo Bay prison.
Homeland Security — Kirstjen Nielsen
John Kelly devotee.
- Homeland Security — Chad Wolf (acting)
“Another woefully unfit puppet.”
- HUD — Ben Carson
Nominating Ben Carson for Housing and Urban Development simply because he grew up poor in Detroit is roughly equivalent to nominating Sarah Palin as ambassador to Russia, because of the purported view from her house.
Interior — Ryan Zinke
Montana Rep and former Navy SEAL, who also managed to get busted for a pattern of fraud.
- Interior — David Bernhardt
Labor — Andrew Puzder
Another rich white guy, against things like increasing minimum wage. A “simply grotesque choice for Labor secretary.”
Labor — Alexander Acosta
Current dean of the law school at Florida International University; also served as an assistant AG under GWB. A rare non-white guy, and better choice than Puzder, but “not without controversy.”
- Labor — Eugene Scalia
That name, it sounds familiar. And it should come as no surprise, he is no friend of labor.
National Intelligence — Dan Coats
Former Indiana Senator and possibly the most understated personality in this whole crew.
- National Intelligence — Joseph Maguire (acting)
Former U.S. Navy Admiral
- Office of Management and Budget — Mick Mulvaney
South Carolina Republican rep, who appears to have had some accounting trouble.
Small Business — Linda McMahon
This pay-to-play cabinet position is what $7.5 million in campaign contributions buys.
- Small Business — Chris Pilkerton (acting)
Former compliance director at J.P. Morgan Chase
State — Rex Tillerson
Chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil, who has “a very close relationship” with Vladimir Putin. (Another rich white guy. And he’s an Ayn Rand fan too. Because of course.) Nice analysis here.
- State — Mike Pompeo
Former “hardline” Republican congressman and “uber-hawk.”
- Transportation — Elaine Chao
Married to Mitch McConnell (difficult, but withholding commentary on this). Former secretary of labor, under W, and deputy secretary of transportation under his dad, H.W.
- Treasury — Steve Mnuchin
Remember when Trump supporters were up in arms about Hillary having given three speeches at Goldman Sachs, and the media made a big deal of it? Remember when Trump talked about “draining the swamp?” Well, as Treasury secretary he’s tapped a former Wall Street banker who spent 17 years at Goldman Sachs, where he was a partner. No surprise here; Mnuchin joined the Trump campaign back in April 2016.
UN Ambassador — Nikki Haley
South Carolina Governor.
- UN Ambassador — Kelly Craft
“Trump’s exceptionally weak choice for UN Ambassador”
- US Trade Representative — Robert Lighthizer
International lawyer who worked Trade for the Reagan administration, has been critical of China, and who appears to be in lockstep with Trump with regard to his trade agenda.
Veterans Affairs — David Shulkin
“Current head of the nation’s sprawling veterans health care system.” Though not a veteran, this is a person who at the very least seems to not be the exact antithesis (see Betsy Devos, Scott Pruitt) of someone any thinking person might choose for the office in question.
- Veterans Affairs — Robert Wilkie
Former Pentagon official with no actual healthcare experience….
Did Not Require Senate Confirmation:
Chief of Staff — Reince Priebus
Chairman of the Republican National Committee since 2011. Previously, he was chairman of the Republican Party of Wisconsin.
Chief of Staff — John Kelly
Former Marine General, and proponent of Guantánamo Bay prison. See also Homeland Security, above.
- Chief of Staff — Mick Mulvaney (acting)
South Carolina Republican rep, who appears to have had some accounting trouble. See also Office of Management and Budget, above.
Chief Strategist — Stephen Bannon
Lead firestarter for the Breitbart “news” service, and Trump’s “alt-right”-hand man. This. Is. A. Reprehensible. Person. (If you don’t believe us, and have the time, read or listen to this 2014 interview.)
Communications Director — Anthony Scaramucci
Another rich white guy! This one, clearly showing his loyalty to ca$h money by flip-flopping from Trump critic to shill.
Communications Director — Hope Hicks
Twenty-something, meteoric rise through the ranks, yada yada yada.
- Communications Director — Bill Shine
Former FOX “News” boss. We should not be surprised.
- Counselor to the President — Kellyanne Conway
Trump’s campaign manager, and lead talking head. America’s analog to former Iraqi Information Minister, “Baghdad Bob.”
- Homeland Security Adviser — Thomas Bossert
Was a top national security aide under GWB. This new title/“designation for Mr. Bossert may suggest a desire by the new administration to reconfigure the national security apparatus at the White House.”
Homeland Security Adviser — Rob Joyce Homeland Security Adviser — Doug Fears
Former Coast Guard Rear Admiral.
- Homeland Security Adviser — Peter J. Brown
Was a top national security aide under GWB.
National Security Adviser — Michael Flynn
A xenophobic hater who plays fast and loose with the facts. What could possibly go wrong?
National Security Adviser — Robert Harward
Retired vice-admiral and former SEAL, now serving as CEO for Lockheed Martin in the UAE. Possibly even a rare, mature choice. (UPDATE: …as evidenced by the fact that he turned down the position by referring to it as “a shit sandwich.”) As a side note, he appears to be part-cyborg.
National Security Adviser — H.R. McMaster
One of the very few on this team with a clean slate who deserves a chance to either succeed or fail.
National Security Adviser — John Bolton
Oh good lord. Really?
- National Security Adviser — Robert O’Brien
Limited foreign policy experience, but a skilled hostage negotiator (“best known for his efforts to win the release of American rapper A$AP Rocky, who was held in a Swedish jail after being arrested for his involvement in a Stockholm brawl”)! You cannot make this stuff up.
Press Secretary — Sean Spicer
Longtime head RNC cheerleader
- Press Secretary — Sarah Huckabee Sanders
Trump surrogate talking head, and daughter of Mike Huckabee.
Regulatory Czar — Carl Icahn
Would never have guessed another billionaire white guy (and “a conflict of interest nightmare”).
- Senior Adviser to the President — Jared Kushner
Trump’s son-in-law. Beyond nepotism, it would appear there is some “mini-me” thinking behind this selection.
- Senior Adviser to the President — Ivanka Trump
Trump’s daughter. Beyond nepotism, it would appear there is some “mini-me” thinking behind this selection.
- Senior Adviser to the President — Stephen Miller
An unapologetic neo-Nazi racist punk. Just. The. Absolute. Worst.
- Trade Czar — Peter Navarro
Professor at Cal Irvine; not a fan of China.
White House Counsel — Don McGahn
“Ethics” [ironic air quotes] lawyer to Tom DeLay, who would face even bigger issues under Trump.
- White House Counsel — Pat Cipollone
Loyal “architect in the White House’s fight against impeachment.”