According to the New York Times Trump cabinet tracker, there are still four positions to fill. The following is a look at the picks thus far:
Secretary of State- ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson. Some have voiced opposition or concern given his alleged close association with Putin and his lack of foreign policy experience. But, his company has tentacles all over the world and from a business standpoint, the choice makes sense. And Tillerson’s close ties to government leaders elsewhere are borne of his fiduciary duty to do what was best for the company he led. Now he will have the duty of projecting Trump’s foreign policy. The jury is out on him. Give him a “B” at this point.
Secretary of Interior- Minnesota Congressman Ryan Zinke. Jon Tester is breathing easier in Montana these days. The Interior Department administers vast tracts of the West and nominating someone whose constituents have to deal with federal land regulations is a plus. Like most Westerners, they respect the beauty of the land and its preservation without the onerous hand of federal regulations on the scales. Decent choice- B+
Energy Secretary- former Texas Governor Rick Perry. Time to bury the jokes about Perry and this department. Ha Ha! The Left has had its laugh. This is a former popular Governor from an energy-producing state, not some egghead professor playing a game of climate change Chicken Little. Give this choice an “A.”
Labor Secretary- Andrew Pudzer. Immigration hard-liners have a problem with him, but more importantly so does organized labor. I guess that evens out somehow. Have to wait and see… B-
EPA- Oklahoma AG Scott Pruitt. Probably the right person to roll back some of the more onerous actions of the EPA under Obama. His commitment to environmental protection will be seriously questioned by the Left, but so what? An excellent choice- A+
Homeland Security- former General John Kelly. This department deals with terrorism and immigration. It’s a tough job and Kelly may be the best man for it. If he demands that even one half of our immigration laws be enforced- something Obama ignored- it will be an improvement. B+
Defense Secretary- former General James Mattis. Another former General- ya da da da. Is it just me that believes it make sense for a former military to lead a department that controls the military? He is a FORMER general so get over it. A
Treasury Secretary- Steven Mnuchin. He will be grilled over his tenure at Goldman-Sachs, the Left’s financial whipping boy. To me, his more troublesome aspects is his connections to Hollywood and George Soros. Then again, it makes sense to appoint someone from the financial industry to run the country’s finances. C+
Transportation Secretary- Elaine Chao. She will sail through Senate confirmation with her hand held by hubby Mitch McConnell. Now if she wisely uses allocated funds and privatizes Amtrak… B+
HHS Secretary- Georgia Congressman Tom Price. He will be tasked with eventually dismantling and replacing Obamacare, no enviable task. But, he knows the subject from the legislative inside and is not some Ivy League or MIT egghead. Perhaps it’s time for more practicality and less theory. B+
Commerce Secretary- investor and billionaire Wilbur Ross. His stances match up with Trump’s campaign rhetoric, so the choice makes sense. This is a wait-and-see appointment… B-
Education Secretary- Betsy DeVos. The NEA’s head is already exploding over this choice which means it cannot be bad. This school choice advocate where everything is on the table can potentially redirect American education for generations to come. Just getting the nanny state mandates out of K-12 education would be a welcome improvement. Less testing and the occasional potato chip in schools would be a good first step. And get Title IX out of bathrooms and locker rooms. A+
UN Ambassador- South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley. Will the Left really attack a minority female to make political points? Granted, she has no foreign policy experience, but if she is any better than Samantha Powers, that would be an improvement. B+
Housing Secretary- former surgeon Ben Carson. This is political payback for campaign support. However, the choice has me saying, “Say what?” I thought he’d be better as Surgeon General, or even HHS. But HUD? Ah…who cares about this department anyway? C-
Attorney General- Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions. Another political payback appointment, but one that makes sense. The Left will drudge up 20-year-old comments, but they’ll confirm one of their own with some Democratic support. Someone who enforces the laws would be an improvement over the Holder/Lynch years. B+
CIA Director- Kansas Congressman Mike Pompeo. Yes, he has intelligence experience in Congress. This new job will be from the other side, but one suspects he’ll be confirmed with some grousing. B
Small Business Administrator- WWE king Linda McMahon. It makes sense that he appointed someone who took a fledgling business and turned it into a multi-billion dollar enterprise. A “doer,” not a “theorizer.” B+
Suggestions on open positions:
Agriculture: Hopefully someone who is familiar with agriculture. Possibly an olive branch appointment like Senator Heidi Heitkamp, a Democrat, who may view the appointment as politically advantageous given the fact she is up for reelection in 2018 and faces stiff headwinds.
Veteran’s Affairs- Another “olive branch,” but someone who is a veteran- Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard. She upset the DNC over her support of Bernie Sanders (not Hillary) plus she surfs!! Melania might not like the pick…
The other two picks are for Director of National Intelligence (someone with intelligence experience) and US Trade Representative (he will pick some hard-liner populist).
Among those not needing Senate confirmation, it makes sense that he has his campaign staff in the West Wing. Kellyanne Conway is, to me, a political genius at this point. As for Bannon, I think his affinity for all things alt-right is overblown, but we will have to wait and see. The one choice this writer does not like is Carl Icahn as regulatory czar. Reince Priebus is a political insider with a tough job ahead of him. How he deals with others, especially Bannon, will be closely watched.
Overall, this writer would give this cabinet an A- at this point. The politics of the appointments have Bannon’s fingerprints all over them. It is a game of Leftist whack-a-mole. Who do they go after the most? The alleged racist at Justice sure to be opposed by the civil rights lobby? Or the killer of public schools at Education sure to be opposed by the education lobby? Or the spoiler of air and water at EPA who will be opposed by the environmental lobby? Or the union busting labor secretary opposed by organized labor? These choices pit four of the Democratic Party’s largest donor classes against one another vying for the ears and votes of Senators. My best guess? The environmental lobby is probably the strongest, so expect the most vehement opposition to Scott Pruitt.
That’s it…Happy New Year, Redstate readers.