2017 Cabinet Nominations

Filling the Swamp: Billionaires, Lobbyists, Special Interests

Despite his promises to “drain the swamp,” Donald Trump has stacked his transition team and potential cabinet with wealthy donors, Washington insiders, lobbyists and representatives of the same special interests he railed against in the campaign for “bleeding our country” and getting away with murder.

 

 

Wilbur Ross

Secretary of Commerce: CONFIRMED

  • Ross has been called a “vulture” and “the bottom-feeder king” for his predatory business practices, and has built a fortune for himself by preying on struggling industries like manufacturing and steel.
  • Ross made billions while overseeing thousands of layoffs across the country in states like North Carolina, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, outsourcing American jobs to lower wage countries, and generating profits by cutting wages, retirement benefits and healthcare.
  • Ross complained that “anti-successful-people sentiment” was fueling criticism of the one percent and has advocated for tax cuts to benefit corporations and the wealthy.
  • Ross believed in using tariffs to threatening other countries, wanted to “spread the trade deficit issue around the world.” 

Ben Carson

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development: CONFIRMED

  • By his own admission, has no experience in the field of housing regulation or urban development.
  • A Ben Carson advisor said he would not be able to do the job, arguing that “Dr. Carson feels he has no government experience, he’s never run a federal agency” and the “last thing he would want to do was take a position that could cripple the presidency.”
  • Carson doesn’t believe in the mission of the agency he’s been tapped to lead, once calling President Johnson’s Great Society – the program that lifted millions out of poverty and created HUD – a “failure.”
  • Trump repeatedly called Ben Carson a “pathological liar,” questioned his faith and temperament, and said Carson didn’t have any “aptitude to do any of the deals that you have to do.
  • “My stance is that we the people have the responsibility to take care of the indigent in our society,” said Carson during a CNN town hall. “It’s not the government’s job.”

Ryan Zinke

Secretary of the Interior: CONFIRMED

  • Supports development of fossil fuels on public lands and support for logging

Andrew Puzder

Secretary of Labor: WITHDREW NAME FROM CONSIDERATION

  • Opposes a federal minimum wage
  • His company has been cited for overtime violations by the Labor Department
  • Critic of paid sick leave
  • Critic of the ACA

Betsy DeVos

Secretary of Education: CONFIRMED

  • Possible plagiarism on Senate Questionnaire (CNN link)
  • Senator Casey will Vote No
  • Has no experience in public education.
  • The architect of the Detroit charter school calamity, which “even charter advocates acknowledge is the biggest school reform disaster in the country”
  • Her mission has been to gut funding for public schools by diverting it to private and religious schools, which only serve about one in 10 U.S. students
  • Ran an organization that was fined nearly $5.3 million for an illegal lobbying effort.
  • Is a billionaire heir, lobbyist, and GOP mega-donor with ties to the Koch family.

Steven Mnuchin

Secretary of the Treasury: CONFIRMED

  • Senator Casey will Vote No
  • Mnuchin is a big money hedge-fund manager with deep ties to Wall Street
  • He spent 17 years at Goldman Sachs where he oversaw the mortgage-lending department in the run-up to the national housing crisis
  • In the depths of the financial crisis, Mnuchin wanted to profit off the housing bust and ran OneWest Bank, which has been called a “foreclosure machine”
  • Under Mnuchin, OneWest was unusually aggressive in foreclosing on homes and may have benefitted more than any other lender from the fallout of the housing crisis
  • OneWest allegedly paid off church and community groups to garner support for their merger with another financial institution

Jeff Sessions

Attorney General: CONFIRMED

  • Senator Casey will Vote No
  • Was denied a federal judgeship appointment by Reagan after a Senate hearing demonstrating blatantly racists remarks and positions
  • Used the power of the courts to discriminate against civil rights leaders and allegedly used racially charged language to disparage minorities
  • Celebrated the gutting of the Voting Rights Act, opposes same-sex marriage, denied the constitutionality of Roe v. Wade
  • Voted against greater access to healthcare for veterans, blocked the Paycheck Fairness Act, and voted against the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act.

Tom Price

Secretary of Health and Human Services: CONFIRMED

  • Contrary to sworn testimony, private company confirms Price got a special stock deal (HuffPo link)
  • Senator Casey will Vote No
  • Repeatedly advocated repealing the ACA, and said he doesn’t know what would happen to the American people if their current plans are canceled.
  • Has proposed turning Medicare into a voucher program, directly at odds with Donald Trump’s campaign promise to not change it.
  • Falsely speculated that over 100 million would lose coverage because of the ACA (it didn’t – more than 20 million previously uninsured Americans gained health insurance because of the law).
  • Called the ACA “a government takeover that will destroy 800,000 jobs” and lead the U.S. to fiscal ruin (it didn’t – 15 million new jobs and counting since the passage of the ACA)
  • Defended shutting down the government over defunding the ACA.
  • Proposed a bill that would gut federal health programs and end protections for the sick.
  • Called putting veterans’ healthcare benefits on the path to privatization.

Rex Tillerson

Secretary of State: CONFIRMED

  • Senator Casey will Vote No
  • Has received a medal from Vladimir Putin – Russia’s Order of Friendship
  • Has many business interests in Russia that would interfere with his duties as the nation’s top diplomat
  • Exxon officially against sanctions we placed on Russia.
  • In 2010, Tillerson said that while he acknowledged that humans were affecting the climate through greenhouse gas emissions to some degree, it was not yet clear “to what extent and therefore what can you do about it.”

Elaine Chao

Secretary of Transportation: CONFIRMED

  • As Labor Sec. she oversaw a department that failed to follow through on complaints about low-wage employees being underpaid
  • Oversaw the failure to properly administer mine saftey

James "Mad Dog" Mattis

Secretary of Defense: CONFIRMED

  • Trump will need to seek a waiver from Congress to serve as Secretary of Defense because he has only been out of the military for about three years. Congress has only used a waiver once in the history of the country: in 1950. This allowed President Truman to appoint Gen. George Marshall to the position.
  • Mattis has been critical of allowing women to serve in combat and the ending of DADT.
  • Mattis joined General Dynamics Board of Directors after leaving the military, and is still listed as a member on the company website.
  • Mattis also sits on the board of Theranos, which has been under fire in recent months by regulators for misrepresenting its capabilities and allegedly lying to investors.

Michael Pompeo

CIA Director: CONFIRMED

  • Opposes the ACA, Opposes women’s right to choose, Climate change denier
  • When he was a candidate for congress, Pompeo’s campaign attacked his challenger over twitter as an “evil turban topper”
  • As a congressman, Pompeo supported the federal government shutdown
  • He’s a proponent of vastly expanding the Patriot Act to track the financial and lifestyle details of American citizens in a searchable database – an idea some have called “Big Brother on steroids.”