A Comprehensive Guide to Donald Trump's Cabinet Picks
REX W. TILLERSON
Job: Secretary of State
How you know him: He's the CEO of Exxon Mobil — and has strong ties to Russia.
What people are saying: Many are skeptical of Tillerson due to his Russian connections (and friendly past with Russian President Vladimir Putin). Throughout Tillerson's career, he's negotiated several major business deals with the country, and has even been honored by Putin himself with the Order of Friendship. Tillerson also already has his own SNL doppelgänger — John Goodman, and a vote of confidence from Condoleezza Rice, the former Secretary of State for President George W. Bush, who thinks Tillerson will do a good job.
Job: Secretary of the Interior
How you know him: He's a former Navy SEAL and a member of the House of Representatives, representing Montana. He's served just one term in Congress.
What people are saying: He ran for Congress on a national security platform — and was an early supporter of Trump. His wife, Lolita, is on Trump's transition team, too. As for climate change, he says: "It’s not a hoax, but it’s not proven science either."
Job: Energy Secretary
How you know him: He's the former governor of Texas, and he ran for president in both 2012 and 2016.
What people are saying: The irony in Perry's appointment is undeniable: When he ran for president in 2012, he said that, if elected, he'd do away with the Energy Department altogether. He then famously forgot Energy when he tried in a televised debate to name the agencies he would eliminate. "Oops," became his tagline then. You also saw him on Dancing With the Stars this past fall, where he lasted for three weeks.
ANDREW F. PUZDER
Job: Labor Secretary
How you know him: He's the CEO of CKE Restaurants, which owns the fast food chains like Hardees and Carl's Jr.
What else to know: He's against raising the minimum wage and expanding overtime pay (an Obama administration rule that was recently blocked in court). He has made statements in favor of automation (machines are "always polite" and "never take a vacation") and those sexy Carls Jr. ads. "I like our ads," he told Entrepreneur. "I like beautiful women eating burgers in bikinis. I think it’s very American."
Job: Small Business Adminstration
How you know her: She's the former chief executive of World Wrestling Entertainment, also known as the W.W.E.
What people are saying: She's had earlier political aspirations — McMahon previously ran for the Senate in Connecticut, but lost the race. She, along with her husband, was a big Trump backer on the trail: They donated $7 million to his campaign.
Job: Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (E.P.A.)
How you know him: He's the current attorney general for Oklahoma.
What else to know: Climate change activists are concerned, as Pruitt is a longtime foe of the E.P.A — and built a career out of suing the agency that he will now lead. His LinkedIn page reads that he's "a leading advocate against the EPA’s activist agenda." The Sierra Club is calling Pruitt, Perry and Tillerson the "Cabinet of Fossil Fools."
JOHN F. KELLY
Job: Secretary of Homeland Security
How you know him: He's a retired four-star Marine general.
What else to know: His son, Robert, who was also a Marine, was killed in Afghanistan after stepping on a landmine while on patrol. He's also tough on immigration.
JAMES 'MAD DOG' MATTIS
Job: Secretary of Defense
What else to know: His appointment has a potential roadblock: To hold the Secretary of Defense job and lead the Pentagon, you need to be out of active service for at least seven years. Kelly retired from the military in 2013 — meaning he'll need the rules changed for his appointment to go through.
Job: Secretary of the Treasury
How you know him: He's a Goldman Sachs partner turned film financier, who most recently served as Trump's campaign finance chairman.
What else to know: Though he has no government experience, Mnuchin is familiar with big budget projects: He backed films like Avatar and X-Men.
ELAINE L. CHAO
Job: Transportation Secretary
How you know her: She was the Secretary of Labor in the second Bush Administration. She's also married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
What else to know: Unlike some of Trump's other cabinet picks, Chao is an undeniable member of the Republican "establishment" — she was the only George W. Bush cabinet member to last through the totality of both of his terms.
Job: Health and Human Services Secretary
How you know him: He's an orthopedic surgeon and six-term congressman from Georgia.
What else to know: The future leader of the nation's health agency is a strong opponent of Obamacare, abortion and providing birth control to insured women without a co-pay. On the birth control measure, he's implied it has served no benefit to women, saying “Bring me one woman who has been left behind. Bring me one. There’s not one."
Job: Secretary of Commerce
How you know him: He's a very rich investor, with an estimated net worth just shy of $3 billion.
What else to know: Like Trump, he's critical of past U.S. trade deals. He was also a big Trump donor.
Job: Secretary of Education
How you know him her: She's an education activist and was previously the chairwoman of the Republican party of Michigan.
What else to know: She's one of the best-known supporters of "school choice," — which allows federal and state funds to be used for other private schools
NIKKI R. HALEY
Job: U.N. Ambassador
How you know her: She's the governor of South Carolina.
What else to know: She was an outspoken Trump critic (and supported Marco Rubio) during the primaries. That didn't stop Trump, however, who said Haley is "a proven deal maker, and we look to be making plenty of deals."
Job: Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
How you know him: He's a world-famous neurosurgeon and he ran for president in 2016.
What else to know: Carson initially denied reports that he was taking a post in the Trump administration. Armstrong Williams, one of his advisors, said: "Dr. Carson feels he has no government experience, he's never run a federal agency. The last thing he would want to do was take a position that could cripple the presidency." Makes sense — except the man ran for president last year.
Job: Director of the C.I.A.
How you know him: He's a former Army officer and a current U.S. Representative from Kansas.
What else to know: Pompeo was extremely critical of Hillary Clinton, and led the charge on the House investigation on Benghazi.
Job: Attorney General
How you know him: He's a longtime Senator from Alabama.
What else to know: One of Trump's earliest and most vocal supporters, Sessions was previously denied a federal judgeship, back in 1986, for remarks that were considered racist.
DONALD F. MCGAHN II
Job: White House Counsel
How you know him: He was the general counsel on the Trump Campaign.
What else to know: McGahn is in favor of deregulation campaign finance laws, and previously spent five years on the Federal Election Commission.
MICHAEL T. FLYNN
Job: National Security Adviser
How you know him: He's a retired lieutenant general in the United States Army, was previously the Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency and was a national security adviser for Trump during his campaign.
What else to know: He's outspoken about his distrust of Muslims, once tweeting "Fear of Muslims is RATIONAL", and has been called Islamophobic. Also, he's a registered Democrat.
Job: Chief of Staff
How you know him: He's the chairman of the Republican National Committee
What else to know: The selection of Priebus, arguably the leader of the Republican "establishment," is a departure from Trump's "drain the swamp" campaign trail promise.
Job: Chief Strategist
How you know him: He's the chairman of the right-wing Breitbart News and served as Trump's campaign chairman.
What else to know: His appointment is hugely controversial, as many cite his work at Breitbart and his own past statements as proof that he espouses racist, misogynistic and anti-Semitic views.
How you know her: She was Trump's campaign manager.
What else to know: Despite first saying that she wouldn't be taking on a role in the Trump administration because White House jobs are typically not family-friendly and she's the mother of four young children, she'll now serve as a counselor. She's been a trusted adviser throughout the final months of Trump's campaign.
Job: Budget Director
How you know him: He's a member of the House of Representatives, representing South Carolina's 5th district.
What else to know: He's such a stickler on budgets (and not increasing them) that Mulvaney has advocated for a government shutdown.
THOMAS P. BOSSERT
Job: Homeland Security Adviser
How you know him: He was a national security aide during the second Bush administration.
What else to know: He has a long history of working in the federal government, including a position at the Federal Emergency Management Agency. He's also run his own homeland security consulting firm.