Update: Trump Cabinet Picks - Who's In?

Below is an update from last Friday’s speculative piece (click here to check it out) on who might be in President-elect Trump’s cabinet.

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 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.  

Even Trump is prepping the public for his cabinet and setting up the reality of what is to come when he tweeted out:

Potential Trump White House Cabinet

Chief of Staff [Selected]


Reince 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 might offer opportunity with a GOP controlled Congress.  

Attorney General [Selected]


Jeff Sessions

The senator from Alabama was widely passed around as a potential defense pick for the Trump administration but now has landed top seat at the Department of Justice.  Sessions was a close adviser during the campaign and was an integral speaking proponent throughout southern states. Sen. Sessions is also on the Senate Committee on Armed Forces where he serves on three different subcommittee’s.  

CIA Director [Selected]

mike pompeo

Mike Pompeo

He is a three term GOP Congressman from Kansas and is also a part of the House Intelligence Committee.  Pompeo was a sharp and chief critic in the congressional proceedings on the investigations covering the 2012 attack on US diplomats in Benghazi.  Mr. Pompeo is a former US Army officer and a West Point graduate.  Politically, Pompeo has aligned himself closely with the Koch brothers and even wrote in 2012 an Op-Ed in Politico titled “Stop harassing the Koch brothers.”

Secretary of Defense

[Disclaimer – Have experience? You too can apply online to the Secretary of Defense job. Check it out here. Offer lasts as long as the seat is vacant.]


Stephen 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.

james mattis

James Mattis

Known throughout the military world as “Mad Dog,” the retired United States Marine Corps general last served as the commander of United States Central Command.  At one point the retired general was being urged by conservative leadership to run as a third party, independent candidate for a White House bid during the 2016 election cycle but decided against such a move.   Gen. Mattis was widely considered to be someone to run against Trump and could very well be at the low end of the list for the chief job at the Pentagon. He is still being highly considered for the job.

Secretary of Treasury

Steven Mnuchin

Steven 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 Dimon

The Chief Executive Officer of JPMorgan Chase is still being proposed as a potential pick for the Treasury.  If that name sounds familiar it is because he is the same bank CEO that wrote after the financial crisis that, “The term “too big to fail” must be excised from our vocabulary.” The top Wall Street banker is considered to be one of the most famous and infamous CEO’s in the world.  He has openly not supported the GOP president-elect’s campaign but has widely been reported, rejected, and then reported again to be on the shortlist for Treasury. Under Dimon’s tenure at the Wall Street bank, they were the recipient of over an estimated $25 billion in government bailout funds – that’s taxpayer dollars at work.

Secretary of State


Rudy Giuliani

The former GOP mayor of New York City appears to still be in as a pick by Trump to be the nation’s top lawyer.  While he is also being tossed around as a potential for head of the State Department, a more likely fit would be in the legal sector.  During the end of the Trump campaign Giuliani was a media voice where he continued to speak on behalf of campaign issues during the race.  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 had a career in politics and since the 1980’s.

Newt Gingrich

Newt 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 Corker

Bob 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.

Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney

Still can’t quite believe that the former 2012 presidential candidate could be in the mix? Well, according to NBC reports, Romney is set to meet with Trump to discuss the chief diplomatic role.  Similar to the strategy that then president-elect Obama took in nominating Clinton to the State Department, Trump could strike the same chord.  During the campaign, Romney did not mince words in speaking out critically against Trump’s rhetoric and platform style (see his speech back in March here).  The former governor of Massachusetts could make for an interesting figurehead at Foggy Bottom.   Trump and Romney are scheduled to meet over the weekend.

White House Press Secretary


Kellyanne 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 will change over the coming days (if not hours) the figures identified here should offer clarity on expectations of a Trump administration.  Those selected in the cabinet are important to be familiar with because they give a clear expectation of which way policy will be directed and what exactly will be changed in a new White House leadership agenda. 

The question still remains as to which one of the Trump children will land cabinet roles (if any)? 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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