Trump Cabinet Picks - Who's In?

The presidential transition of power is key in setting tempo for an incoming administration – and a Trump cabinet picks will be an extremely clear indicator for expectations.  It allows the general public, those in the international community, and business leaders to have an initial gauge of policy.  

Understanding who the next president will surround himself with is the first big test.

Trump was the candidate who ran as an outsider.  He was the ultimate candidate to break the establishment model of campaigning.  The question now arises, will he betray his rhetoric with his nominees selections?  Will he pull and plug from rank-and-file lifetime politicos?

Below, we’ve has put together a list of six key cabinet prospects that Trump might be considering for office.  While more information will surface in the coming days, even Trump has hit on the gravity of these decisions.

Potential Trump White House Cabinet

Chief of Staff

The role of Chief of Staff could potentially be the most clambered over position in the upcoming White House administration.  While there are several options on the periphery, the three featured are viewed as the more likely options to be the president’s “point man.” It will also set the tone for all of the potential cabinet members selected going forward.

jared_kushner_croppedJared Kushner

After taking a walk on the South Lawn with current chief of staff Denis McDonough during President Obama’s meeting with Obama Trump’s son-in-law seems a shoo-in for the position. Kushner is married to Trump’s daughter and major advisor to the GOP presidential campaign, Ivanka.  During the campaign Kushner was present throughout multiple rallies and the biggest primary nights.  He was the guy behind the scenes.  

While many would be fast to call Kushner a Washington outsider, he is a major real estate developer and comes from a highly connected coastal-elite family. 

steve_bannonSteve Bannon

The conservative executive chairman of Breitbart News is strongly considered to be in the top runnings for the position.  Bannon is a poignant figure who has been considered ultra-polarizing through media mediums.  During the campaign the media figure was considered the chief executive officer for the Trump campaign.  

He was often considered to be an integral part of the GOP president-elect’s debate team preparation council and often a media advisor.  Bannon’s appointment could be one that is be perceived more a “branding” position in contrast to a personnel one.

reince_priebusReince Priebus

One of the most controversial chairman figures for the Republican National Committee.  Priebus has a good working relationship already established with Speaker Paul Ryan and the vice-president elect, Mike Pence of Indiana.  After Trump’s vigorous campaign and divisive positioning amongst the GOP (though the list is much longer than his own party) having a bridge between rank-and-file republican leadership could offer opportunity with Congress.  

Secretary of Defense


jeff_sessionsJeff Sessions

The senator from Alabama has widely been passed around as a potential defense pick for the Trump administration.  Sessions was a close adviser during the campaign and was an integral speaking proponent throughout the south. Sen. Sessions is also on the Senate Committee on Armed Forces where he serves on three different subcommittee’s.  The Alabama Senator has been a strong proponent of increasing defense spending, which directly corresponds to the Trump platform for defense.

stephen-hadleyStephen Hadley

As a former national security adviser to the Trump campaign, Hadley could continue to provide his services to a GOP lead White House.  Hadley was a national security to George Bush for four years and prior to that worked within the Pentagon under multiple Republican administrations. The military editorial “Stars and Stripes” wrote, “his more recent assignments include serving as assistant secretary of defense, focused on NATO strategic issues…” Which could make for an interesting venture given Trump’s NATO positioning during the campaign season.

Secretary of Treasury


Steven MnuchinSteven Mnuchin

The 17 year veteran of Goldman Sachs, who also worked at Soros Fund Management (hedge fund led by George Soros) worked as Trump’s campaign finance chairman.  He currently runs the hedge fund Dune Capital Management before joining Trump in May as the “Fundraiser-in-Chief” for the campaign.  Mnuchin has also contributed heavily to both US political party funds including Clinton’s 2008 campaign and her earlier Senate campaigns.  The option of taking on such a Wall Street oriented banker would give several disconnects for the Trump messaging.

jamie-dimonJamie Dimon

The Chief Executive Officer of JPMorgan Chase was recently proposed as a potential pick for the Treasury.  If that name sounds familiar he is the same bank CEO that wrote following the financial crisis that, “The term “too big to fail” must be excised from our vocabulary.” Dimon is considered to be one of the most famous and infamous bankers in the US.  He has openly not supported the Republican president-elect’s campaign but has widely been reported to be considered on the shortlist by Trump officials. Under Dimon’s tenure at the Wall Street bank, it received over an estimated $25 billion in government bailout funds.

Attorney General


rudy_giulianiRudy Giuliani

The former GOP mayor of New York City appears to be locked in as a pick by Trump to be the nation’s top lawyer.  During the end of the Trump campaign Giuliani was a constant media source and continued to speak on law-enforcement and campaign issues during the campaign.  The mayor was a once presidential primary competitor in 2008.  Prior to his time as mayor, Giuliani also served as a US Attorney for the Southern District of New York.  Giuliani has been in politics and the political arena since the 1980’s.


chris christieChris Christie

The scandal filled (Bridgegate) Governor Christie was largely to be considered for the role but has recently lost rank with the Trump campaign.  He was originally leading the charge for the Trump transition team before losing the job to the vice president-elect.  Christie currently serves as governor of New Jersey and was previously appointed by George W. Bush as a US Attorney for New Jersey.  Chris Christie ran for the GOP presidential nomination in 2012 and again against Trump in 2016. While the scandal of “bridgegate” might have soured his chances at a cabinet seat, he still holds consideration.

Secretary of State


Newt GingrichNewt Gingrich

The former GOP House Speaker, Newt Gingrich is widely considered to be the top candidate for the top position at Department of State.  Newt Gingrich currently is a major Fox News contributor and works with one of the world’s largest law firms while also advising Gallup.  Gingrich ran for the Republican presidential ticket in 2012.  

Gingrich spent the majority of his career as a politician while serving as a member of the house for twenty years. He also serves on the Council on Foreign Relations and is a part of Koch Brother think tank as a fellow of the American Enterprise Institute. He has been a frequent critic of the Department of State and his ideas of extreme foreign policy reform.

He also could not withhold his excitement for the Trump transition team tweeting out:

Bob CorkerBob Corker

As the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, the Senator from Tennessee has clearly stated his interest in the position.  Corker has been highly critical of the Obama administration’s handling of Syria and has called for for humanitarian involvement and further action with the Assad regime.  Corker has worked as a US senator since 2007 where he has been a staunch supporter of the Iraq war and has been heavily critical of the Obama administration for not having further military involvement in Afghanistan.

White House Press Secretary

kellyanne_conwayKellyanne Conway

One of the most sure-fire prospects for a position in the Trump cabinet is Conway.  Conway has worked on campaigns including Jack Kemp, Fred Thompson, Dan Quayle, Newt Gingrich and vice president-elect Mike Pence.  She was initially involved with Sen. Ted Cruz’ presidential campaign PAC but was asked in July to become a more integral part of the GOP presidential nominee’s campaign.  During the campaign Conway was thought to be a key adviser regarding debates, media and was a constant voice on political-talk media shows. Many have noted that she was a catalyst for the final messaging out of the president-elect’s final speech appearances.

She tweeted two days after the Trump victory:

While this list and the names on it are likely to change over the coming days (if not hours) the figures identified here should offer clarity on expectations of a Trump administration.  They are important to be familiar with because they give a clear expectation of policy direction that will stem from the White House.  

The periphery question also remains as to which of the Trump children will land cabinet roles? That however, is much greater of a variable than the prospects speculated above.

Ultimately, these are the voices and the minds that will impact markets, the economy, the military and the country as a whole.


Craig Wilson, @craig_wilson7
for the Daily Reckoning

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