Incoming President-Trump has been preparing for the Presidency, rounding out his cabinet picks. So far he has picked 19 roles, besides Mike Pence for VP. The positions include:
When you look at this list, it does raise a few eyebrows. For starters, there’s Elaine Chao, spouse of Majority Leader Mitch McConnel, for Secretary of Transportation. McConnell has been a Senator for Kentucky for over 30 years, so this seems like a political favor versus a qualified appointment.
Another pick that will have to have a special designation to be approved is Ret. General James Mattis for Secretary of Defense. While his service is admirable, he has only been out of the military for four years.
Federal law prohibits a military man from serving as Secretary of Defense if he has not been removed from the service for at least seven years, so Congress will have to pass a law which bypasses this for Mattis to be approved.
Then there are Steve Mnuchin and Wilbur Ross.
Steven Mnuchin, picked for the Secretary of the Treasury, was a partner at Goldman-Sachs for 17 years, one of the banks bailed out by Obama during the housing crisis.
And billionaire Wilbur Ross, was picked for Secretary of Commerce. He is known to be a turnaround artist who has come into failing businesses and make them profitable. More importantly, Ross has a 25-year relationship of helping Trump, actually personally bankrolling Trump in a failing casino deal, successfully preventing a giant bankruptcy for the real-estate mogul.
And both these men donated heavily to the Trump campaign in his run for Presidency.
Mnuchin donated $430,000 to the Trump campaign, while Ross donated $200,000. Now both have cabinet positions in the Trump administration. There are others who have followed in the same vein- Andy Puzder and Linda McMahon donated hundreds of thousands to Trump also. Linda is now head of Small Business Administration and Puzder is Secretary of Labor.
These appointments seem to go against the very thing Donald Trump campaigned on leading up to the election. The Hill put it like this:
One of his biggest campaign promises was to “drain the swamp.” And for 18 months he campaigned, theatrically, on the most populist message seen in recent Republican politics. He thrilled his crowds by ridiculing the donor class that he said dictates much of the Washington agenda.
Trump’s first campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, says that a big part of Trump’s appeal was that the billionaire self-funded his primary campaign
But now Donald Trump is assembling a cabinet where hundreds of thousands of dollars exchanged hands and appointments have been made. Certainly some of the positions have been filled by qualified individuals. Puzder was the CEO of Carl Jr’s, a fast food chain that competes in the same arena as McDonald’s- He’s no slouch and has business experience. Linda McMahon grew her company into a multi-billion dollar company from a tiny staff of 13- she understands small business better than most.
Others like Mnuchin and Ross seem to be men who have ties to the underbelly of politics-dark money- which is what Trump promised to clean up.