As Donald Trump continues to move in his new presidential role, his cabinet picks are slowly being confirmed in their positions.
“This is a serious cabinet, a cabinet of highly qualified individuals, it is a cabinet of strong conservatives. The President-elect should be commended for bringing together a team of all-stars, and I think that bodes really well, I hope, for the commitment to carry through on promises we made,” said former Trump rival and current Sen. Ted Cruz in a radio interview early in January 2017.
One of the first cabinet appointments to be announced was Sen. Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III of Alabama to be Attorney General.
Sessions is graduate of the University of Alabama’s law program and has been a public servant since 1981 when he was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to be the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama. He has also served as the 44th Attorney General for the State of Alabama, and has been a U.S. senator since 1997.
Trump brought Sessions into his administration for his stance on immigration, as he fought the Obama Administration’s attempts at amnesty for years. In August 2014, the National Review dubbed Sessions as “amnesty’s worst enemy.” Many believe Sessions to be a man who will uphold the rule of law.
General James “Mad Dog” Mattis has been tapped to be the next Secretary of Defense.
Mattis achieved the rank of a four-star general, retiring in 2013 from U.S. Central Command. In 2013, the Military Times called him “the most revered Marine general in at least a generation.” Following 9/11, he commanded the First Marine Expeditionary Brigade and Naval Task Force 58 in Afghanistan for the U.S.
The new CIA Director is Congressman Mike Pompeo of Kansas’ Fourth District. Pompeo graduated from West Point in 1986, and served in the 2nd Squadron, 7th Cavalry in the Fourth Infantry Division in the United States Army during the Cold War. Pompeo will be in charge of handling the nation’s top spy agency, which will continue keeping tabs on Russia. He also served on the House Select Benghazi Committee that probed Hillary Clinton’s emails.
Trump’s pick for head of the Department of Education, Betsy Devos, was confirmed on Feb. 7. Conservatives applauded the pick for her advocacy of school choice and a voucher program.
“But, thinking more broadly, what we are trying to do is tear down the mindset that assigns students to a school based solely on the ZIP Code of their family’s home. We advocate instead for as much freedom as possible” said Devos to the Philanthropy Roundtable in 2013.
DeVo’s position as secretary is generally seen as a threat to teacher unions. “From her wealthy family to her Christian faith and support of school vouchers, DeVos ticks off the education establishment,”
said Forbes contributor Maureen Sullivan.
Less covered by the media, Trump selected former Georgia governor Sonny Perdue to be secretary of the Department of Agriculture. Perdue served as the first republican governor of the state since Reconstruction.
Before he was elected governor, Perdue served most of his life in the agri-business sector by running a grain and fertilizer business. As governor, Georgia was the country’s largest chicken production state.
Perdue received endorsements from fellow Georgian representatives Sanford Bishop and Austin Scott, but he also received an endorsement from democratic senator Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota.
“After meeting with [former] Gov. Sonny Perdue [R-Ga.] today, I look forward to confirming him to this important post and working with him to get results for North Dakota farmers and ranchers,” said Heitkamp, who is in the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry.
The senate further confirmed VA secretary David Shulkin on Monday evening, with a unanomis 100-0 vote. Shulkin previously worked in the Obama Administration as a top health official in 2015.
Monday night also saw the confirmation of Steven Mnuchin as treasury secretary, a decision not well supported by many democrats in the senate. The vote split a near 53-47, with many republicans seeing Mnuchin as a skilled individual fit for the job.
The remaining cabinet positions are expected to be filled in the coming weeks, many of his nominations are required to be reviewed by the senate before confirmation.