A first-term administration gets wide latitude with their cabinet choices. They are approved by the Senate with little fanfare despite the usual bellowing by the opposition party. It’s different than judicial appointments since Senate approved nominees usually leave when the administration vacates the White House.
Nevertheless, the hope is the President-Elect bases their decisions on cabinet choices and advisers based on candidates being the best option for the position. The early indication from Donald Trump is he is going to fill positions with campaign loyalists, and that’s an unfortunate development.
Trump named Reince Priebus as his Chief-of-Staff, Steve Bannon as chief strategist and senior counselor, Michael Flynn as his national security advisor, and Jeff Sessions as Attorney General. Mike Pompeo has been offered the position of CIA director.
If Trump offers the job of Secretary of State to Rudy Giuliani, it will be obvious.
Priebus is an excellent choice on the merits but was also a stalwart defender of Trump mainly due to his role as head of the RNC. Michael Flynn has been an advocate for Trump as has Sessions. In fact, people still remember the shock of Sessions endorsing Trump over Ted Cruz. Pompeo was an early reluctant supporter of Trump but after the convention, was aboard the “Trump train” so to speak.
Looking over Pompeo’s resume, it is hard to fathom why anybody thinks he’s qualified to head the CIA. He has little military experience and little intelligence experience. He has been on the intelligence committee since 2015 and aside from being on the select Benghazi committee, his only other committee assignment is energy and commerce.
Trump is looking at a disaster of a first term if all he does his fill up his cabinet with yes men.
Jeff Sessions’ hearings are going to be a nightmare. The only reason he’s a Senator is that his nomination to be a judge was rejected by the judiciary committee in 1986 when Ronald Reagan nominated him. The racially charged statements Sessions made in his past are certainly going to resurface.
I have been critical of Trump since he announced. After he had, won I said to myself I would give him a chance. His early appointments and nominations are not encouraging. Trump should be looking past the loyalists and reaching out to the people who can do the job best. With a Republican-controlled Congress, Trump has the chance to do some good things. As it stands, he is looking at 5-6 difficult months of filling cabinet positions because he’s choosing first, from his sycophants
UPDATE: An earlier version said Pompeo’s only committee assignment was energy and commerce. That has been corrected.