Trump selects key cabinet members

by Ruhi Sayana and Anika Rajamani

President Donald J. Trump was sworn into office at his inauguration ceremony on Thursday. Trump declared his nominations for the five main members of his cabinet: the heads of the departments of State, Justice, Defense, Treasury, Justice and the Interior. If approved by the Senate, Trump’s cabinet nominees will be appointed to their positions.

Secretary of Education – Betsy Devos

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Trump nominated businesswoman Betsy DeVos for a position as the head of the Education Department on Nov. 23 last year. DeVos is known for being an activist for school choice, alternatives to public schools, and voucher programs, which give government money to families to use towards private school educations. A member of the Michigan Republican Party since 1982, DeVos actively participated in fundraising for the Bush campaign. Devos believes that education in the United States should be open for for-profit charter schools and supports the stance that education is a closed market and industry. DeVos attended her Senate confirmation hearing last Wednesday, where members of the Senate criticized her for her confusion about several government educational policies and her stances on federal laws in place.


Secretary of State – Rex Tillerson

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Trump nominated Rex W. Tillerson, CEO of oil and gas company ExxonMobil, for secretary of state. Tillerson has ties with foreign countries including Russia and Kurdistan because he has represented the interests of ExxonMobil in deals with these nations. Unlike other candidates for the Trump administration, Tillerson believes that climate change is real, although he also believes that the U.S cannot escape fossil fuel usage. He favors the implementation of a carbon tax, a fee charged for fossil fuel usage, and as of 2013 supports the Trans-Pacific Partnership. If Tillerson is approved by the Senate, he will advise the president on foreign affairs, conduct foreign negotiations for the United States and administer the Department of State.


Attorney General – Jeff Sessions

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Trump nominated Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, a Republican, for attorney general.

A staunchly conservative senator, Sessions is known for being one of the leading congressional advocates of tighter immigration policies and an advocate of opposition to immigration reform acts, as well as a fence along the southern border. Sessions also opposes the Affordable Care Act and same-sex marriage. He strongly supports civil forfeiture, the governmental practice of seizing property that has allegedly been involved in crime, and is skeptical of climate change.




Secretary of Defense – James N. Mattis

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Trump nominated retired Marine Corps general and 11th United States Central Command commander James N. Mattis for secretary of defense. As commander, Mattis oversaw military operations in the Middle East, northeast Africa and Asia from late 2010 to early 2013. Mattis supports current Secretary of State John Kerry’s efforts for peace in the Middle East and believes in a two-state solution for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. He believes that the Iran nuclear deal, although weak, cannot be broken and that Iran is the greatest threat in the Middle East, more than ISIS or al-Qaeda. Mattis has voiced the opinion that Russian president Vladimir Putin’s goal is to break up NATO and has stated that Trump’s statements towards Russia that suggest friendly relations are misinformed.


Secretary of the Interior – Cathy McMorris

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Trump nominated Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, a Republican, for secretary of the interior. Rodgers has served as the House Representative for Washington’s fifth district since 2005. She is the second woman to ever serve as the chair of the House Republican Conference. In 2006, she co-sponsored the Marriage Protection Amendment, an amendment to prohibit same-sex marriage that failed to pass through Congress. The co-chairwoman of the Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues, she supports pay equity, health programs for women and laws protecting victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. Rodgers opposes the Affordable Care Act and was chosen to respond to former President Barack Obama’s 2014 State of the Union address that year.

Other departments in the cabinet include the departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Labor, Small Business, Transportation and Veterans Affairs.


This piece was originally published in the pages of The Winged Post on January 24, 2017.