Who’s in Trump’s Cabinet?

By CNN Staff

Updated December 05, 2016

President-elect Trump will have about 4,000 government positions to fill, including some of the most important posts in the US government. Cabinet positions require Senate confirmation, but other key posts are completely up to the discretion of the President.

Secretary of Defense

Gen. James Mattis

Retired Marine general

Nominated

A key figure in the Iraq war, Gen. James Mattis led troops and ultimately oversaw US Central Command. In Gen. James Mattis, Trump has a candidate who was held in high regard throughout the ranks of the Marine Corps during his 44 years of service. A seasoned combat commander, he led a task force into southern Afghanistan in 2001 and a Marine division at the time of the Iraq invasion in 2003. The retired four-star general, who was known as "Mad Dog," was lauded for his leadership of Marines in the 2004 Battle of Falluja in Iraq -- one of the bloodiest of the war. But he attracted controversy in 2005 when he said "it's fun to shoot some people" while addressing service members in San Diego. He ultimately rose to oversee US Central Command. Mattis would require a waiver from Congress to be eligible for the position -- servicemembers must usually wait seven years before being eligible. With Republicans in control on Capitol Hill and the general praise for the general's career, a waiver would likely be a formality to obtain.

Past controversy: "It's fun to shoot some people," he once said.

Key conversation: He may have already changed Trump's mind about waterboarding.

Nickname: He got his nickname after the battle of Fallujah and kept it for his plain spoken nature.

Chief of Staff

Reince Priebus

Republican National Committee chairman

Named

Reince Priebus has served as director of the Republican National Committee since 2011. Previously, he served as the committee's general counsel. Priebus has the backing of establishment Republicans like House Speaker Paul Ryan, a fellow Wisconsinite, and Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader. He could help Trump negotiate with Congress. His appointment was reported November 13.

Secretary of the Treasury

Steven Mnuchin

Co-chairman and CEO of Dune Capital Management

Nominated

Steven Mnuchin, who worked at Goldman Sachs for 17 years, joined the Trump campaign as finance chairman in May. These days Mnuchin is a Hollywood producer, putting out films including this past summer's "Suicide Squad," as well as "American Sniper" and "The Lego Movie." His latest film, due in theaters this month, is called "Rules Don't Apply." Mnuchin has contributed to both Republican and Democratic candidates, including Hillary Clinton's Senate campaigns and 2008 presidential run. He gave to Barack Obama's Senate and presidential campaigns and to Charles Schumer, the new Democratic leader in the Senate. Mnuchin also worked with George Soros, the billionaire financier who has bankrolled liberal candidates and causes -- and who was depicted as a villain in Trump's last campaign ad. In 2009, during the real estate collapse, Mnuchin led a group that bought failed subprime lender IndyMac for pennies on the dollar.

Explained: The US economy as explained by GIFs from Steve Mnuchin's movies

Promised: Mnuchin pledges biggest tax cuts since Reagan

Controversy: He made billions off the 2008 housing crisis

Attorney General

Jeff Sessions

US Senator from Alabama

Nominated

Sen. Jeff Sessions has represented Alabama in the US Senate since 1997. He was the first sitting senator to endorse Trump's presidential campaign and was a main surrogate for him on the campaign trail. Sessions was nominated to be a federal judge earlier in his career, but could not get past Senate confirmation after allegations, which he denied, that he had made racist comments. He's been a key opponent of comprehensive immigration reform on Capitol Hill. Trump offered Sessions the job of attorney general on November 18.

In-depth: Transcripts, interviews shed light on allegations of racism against Sessions

Impact: How Jeff Sessions could change the Justice Department

Secretary of Commerce

Wilbur Ross

Investor

Nominated

Wilbur Ross fits the mold of the type of administration officials he pledged to appoint during the campaign: businessmen with long resumes and billions in their bank accounts, sitting at the ready to negotiate for U.S. Interests around the world. Ross, 78, had been a vocal Trump supporter before the election, citing the need for a "more radical, new approach to government" that would help middle class and lower middle class Americans.

Ross, chairman of WL Ross & Co., has made a career of resurrecting dying companies. Fittingly, some of Ross's biggest hits have been in the same demoralized industries that Trump wants to revive: steel and coal. For instance, Ross's firm scored huge returns last decade by cobbling together bankrupt steel makers including Bethlehem Steel to form International Steel Group. Ross then flipped the conglomerate in a $4.5 billion sale two years later.

Collector: He's worth an estimated $3 billion and has an impressive art collection worth a reported $150 million.

Philosophy: Like Trump, who famously called himself the "king of debt," Ross is not afraid to borrow money and used debt to finance his acquisitions, a trend known as leveraged buyouts.

Priority: NAFTA re-negotiation could start day one

Secretary of Education

Betsy DeVos

Republican donor, school choice activist

Nominated

Betsy DeVos chairs the American Federation for Children, a group that promotes charter school education. She also served on the board of the Foundation for Excellence in Education, a group led by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush -- one of Trump's GOP primary opponents -- which promoted both school choice and the Common Core education standards that Trump opposes. 

Related: Read more about Betsy DeVos 

 

Secretary of Health and Human Services

Tom Price

Chairman, House Budget Committee

Nominated

One of Tom Price's top priorities as health secretary would be to dismantle the sweeping health reform law that his two predecessors spent six years implementing. Price, an orthopedic surgeon who chairs the House Budget Committee, has long decried Obamacare as a threat to quality and affordable health care. Before entering politics, Price spent nearly 20 years in private practice as an orthopedic surgeon. He also served as medical director of the orthopedic clinic at Grady Memorial Hospital and as an assistant professor at Emory University's School of Medicine. Price then spent four terms in the Georgia State Senate. In 2004, he was elected to the House of Representatives. He was named Budget Committee chair in 2015.

Price has authored several iterations of an Obamacare replacement plan, which bears many similarities to Trump's vision for health care reform and to House Speaker Paul Ryan's overhaul proposal. Price's most recent bill, the Empowering Patients First Act of 2015, calls for giving refundable tax credits to those who buy policies in the individual market. The credits would be adjusted by age, ranging from $1,200 for those age 18 to 35 to $3,000 for those age 50 and up.

The plan would also offers more incentives for Americans to use Health Savings Accounts, including a one-time $1,000 tax credit for making contributions. It caps the tax exclusion on employer-sponsored plans at $20,000 for family coverage, and it allows insurers to sell coverage across state lines. Price's bill also pushes states to create high-risk pools to insure those rejected by carriers on the individual market -- usually those who have costly, pre-existing conditions.

Also, it limits using federal funds to pay for abortions and protects health care providers who don't want to perform abortions for religious reasons.

Agenda: How Price could replace Obamacare

Past: Orthopedic surgeon has written several Obamacare alternative plans

National Security Advisor

Michael Flynn

Retired US Army Lieutenant General

Named

Michael Flynn served as the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency from 2012-2014. He's also served as assistant director of National Intelligence and served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Trump offered him the job of National Security Advisor November 17. An area of controversy for Flynn will be his complicated history at the Pentagon, particularly with classified information, and his work with foreigners after leaving the military.

Past statement: Islamism is a "viscious cancer" that must be excised from the body of Muslims

Controversies: Flynn's handling of classified info has been investigated

Communications Director

Jason Miller

Trump campaign senior communications adviser

Rumored

Jason Miller has advised the Trump campaign on communications strategy since June. He previously worked on Rudy Giuliani's 2008 presidential bid.

Press Secretary

Jason Miller

Trump campaign senior communications adviser

Rumored

Jason Miller has advised the Trump campaign on communications strategy since June. He previously worked on Rudy Giuliani's 2008 presidential bid.

Sean Spicer

Chief Strategist and Communications Director at the Republican National Committee

Rumored

Sean Spicer serves as chief strategist and communications director at the Republican National Committee, where he's worked since 2011. Previously, he worked as the assistant US trade representative for media.

Laura Ingraham

Conservative pundit, radio host

Rumored

Luara Ingraham is a provocative voice in conservative circles, although she has also worked as an attorney and clerked for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. She was a Trump supporter and spoke at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

Secretary of State

Mitt Romney

2012 Republican White House nominee

Rumored

Mitt Romney did everything in his power to make sure Donald Trump wasn't the Republican presidential nominee. He delivered an incredible and blistering speech in which he called Trump "a phony, a fraud," and much worse. But Trump did become the nominee and he repeatedly called Romney a "choker." Whether these two men can bury the hatchet or if Romney would agree to serve in the Cabinet of a president whose nomination he so strenuously opposed, remains to be seen. But a Romney nomination to such a high profile position could help calm the nerves of establishment Republicans who are still very nervous about Trump.

Gen. David Petraeus, retired

Former CIA director, Army general

Rumored

He's widely considered one of the best military minds of his generation, but David Petraeus also brings baggage. The retired general and former CIA director admitted to leaking classified information to the biographer who was also his lover. He resigned from the CIA, pleaded guilty to a felony and paid a $100,000 fine. But Petraeus still pulls serious respect on both sides of the political aisle. He has said he would serve in a Trump administration, despite opposing Trump during the presidential campaign.

Newt Gingrich

Former Speaker of the House

Rumored

Newt Gingrich served as Speaker of the House from 1995-1999 and ran for president in 2012. He was an early supporter of Trump and one of the few Republicans with an establishment background who favored him. Gingrigh said on Nov. 14 he didn't want to be Secretary of State, but rather would prefer to work as a strategic adviser.

John Bolton

Senior Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute

Rumored

John Bolton served as the US Ambassador to the United Nations from 2005-2006. Previously he served as Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs.

Richard Haass

President of the Council on Foreign Relations

Rumored

Richard Haass has served as president of the Council on Foreign Relations since 2003. Previously, he was the US Special Envoy for Northern Ireland under President George W. Bush, and before that the director of policy planning at the US State Department.

Bob Corker

US Senate from Tennessee

Rumored

Sen. Bob Corker has represented Tennessee in the US Senate since 2007. He serves on the Banking and Foreign Relations committees.

Rudy Giuliani

Former New York City mayor

Rumored

Rudy Giuliani served as mayor of New York City from 1994-2001 and has acted as an informal adviser to the Trump campaign.

Richard Armitage

Former Deputy Secretary of State

Rumored

A former top deputy to Secretary of State Colin Powell under President George W. Bush. He was also the official who leaked undercover CIA agent Valerie Plame's identity to journalists. He backed Clinton over Trump.

Henry Paulson

Former Secretary of Treasury, Goldman Sachs CEO

Rumored

He penned an op-ed encouraging Republicans to reject Donald Trump, so it would be interesting to see Paulson as part of a Trump administration. The former Goldman Sachs CEO and Treasury Secretary under President George W. Bush helped engineer the controversial bank bailouts engineered by Washington to save the economy during the Great Recession. 

Secretary of Homeland Security

Rudy Giuliani

Former mayor of New York City

Rumored

Rudy Giuliani served as mayor of New York City from 1994-2001 and has acted as an informal adviser to the Trump campaign.

Michael McCaul

US Congressman from Texas

Rumored

In Congress since 2005, McCaul would be a natural fit to lead the Department of Homeland Security; he currently chairs the House Committee on Homeland Security.

Director of National Intelligence

Admiral Mike Rogers

Director, National Security Agency

Rumored

As head of the NSA, Admiral Mike Rogers oversees one of the largest and most important pieces of the US national security infrastructure. His tenure there has not been without controversy. The Washington Post reported recently that both the current Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, and Defense Secretary Ash Carter recently recommended that President Obama replace Rogers as head of the NSA. Their issues include a desire to change the leadership structure of the NSA to put more in civilian hands, concerns specifically about his management style and issues of security at the NSA during his tenure. But moving a top military figure from heading the NSA to a civilian intelligence job is not without precedent. Michael Hayden went from the NSA to leadinng the CIA during the George W. Bush Administration.

Rudy Giuliani

Former mayor of New York City

Rumored

Rudy Giuliani served as mayor of New York City from 1994-2001 and has acted as an informal adviser to the Trump campaign.

Mike Rogers

CNN National Security Commentator

Rumored

A congressman for 14 years, Rogers is also a former FBI agent. He was Chairman of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. He was a part of Trump's transition team, but left November 15. It's not clear if leaving the transition team meant he was no longer in the running for a post.

Pete Hoekstra

Former Congressman

Rumored

A former Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Hoekstra represented Michigan for 18 years on Capitol Hill. Since leaving office he has run unsuccessfully for both governor and senator.

Lt. Gen. Joseph Kellogg, retired

Reitired Lieutenant General, Defense contractor

Rumored

Reitred Lt. General Joseph Kellogg has a distinguished military service record, including command of the 82nd Airborne Division. He retired from the military in 2003 and worked at a number of defense contractors before becoming an adviser to Donald Trump.

Secretary of Energy

Heidi Heitkamp

Senator from North Dakota

Rumored

Trump has not seriously considered many Democrats for Cabinet positions, but Heidi Heitkamp is an exception. She's from North Dakota, where energy and oil shale are key issues. Plus, selecting her would open up a Senate seat in a place Republicans would have a good shot at picking up a seat.

Myron Ebell

Climate Change Contrarion

Rumored

Myron Ebell is the go-to climate change denier and he's running Donald Trump's EPA transition. He's the director of the Center for Enrgy and Environment at the libertarian-leaning Competitive Enterprise Institute and chairs the Cooler Heads coalition, which is described as a group of nonprofit organizations that "challenge global warming alarmism." He opposes government efforts to curb climate change and international treaties meant to address it.

Harold Hamm

Energy billionaire

Rumored

Harold Hamm, an adviser to Trump and previous GOP candidates on energy issues, has long been a leading contender to be Trump's energy secretary. He controls Oklahoma City-based Continental Resources (CLR), one of the biggest oil producers in the prolific North Dakota shale fields.

Rick Perry

Former Governor of Texas

Rumored

Rick Perry was among the first 2016 Republicans to criticize Trump, but he dropped out of the race early and was also among the first former rivals to endorse him. As longest-serving governor of the oil state of Texas -- Perry left office 2015 -- he has a natural interest in the Department of Energy. But when he ran for president in 2012, it was one of the three departments Perry said he'd eliminate from the federal government. Actually, in a bit of irony, the Department of Energy was the department he forgot he'd want to eliminate during a fateful 2011 debate performance. "Oops," he said at the mistake, which likely ended his presidential aspirations

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development

Ben Carson

Former presidential candidate, retired surgeon

Nominated

Ben Carson was a onetime rival turned campaign surrogate for Trump. The retired brain surgeon was also eyed as a potential Health and Education secretary. Like Trump, Carson has never had a government position before and he ran for president largely on his qualifications as a surgeon and his up-from-the-bootstraps life story. A onetime leader in the GOP primary polls, Carson clashed with Trump before ultimately endorsing him.

Related: Read more about Ben Carson

Secretary of Transportation

Elaine Chao

Former Labor Secretary

Nominated

She has a long history in Washington and Elaine Chao made history as the first woman of Asian descent in a presidential Cabinet when she became President George W. Bush's labor secretary. She has also been CEO of the United Way and director of the Peace Corps. Chao, who comes from a wealthy shipping family, immigrated to the US from Taiwan at 8. Before her work in government, Chao worked at banks in San Francisco and New York. She is also one half of one of the most powerful couples in Washington; her husband is Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Related: Trump picks Elaine Chao

Related: Cabinet picks pull from DC establishment

Secretary of Interior

Sarah Palin

Former Alaska governor

Rumored

She was John McCain's surprise running mate in 2008, but Sarah Palin has become much more since then. She didn't finish her term as Alaska governor, but did go on to star in her own reality TV show. She's an important voice in the populist, Tea Party wing of the party, but is one of the more divisive political figures in the country. Palin supported Trump during the primary, but was rarely on the campaign trail for him in the general election. She has epxressed interest in helping Trump from their inside or outside his administration. As Interior secretary she'd be in charge of everything from the National Park Service to the government agencies that deal with mining and land rights.

Mary Fallon

Oklahoma Governor

Rumored

Once discussed as a potential running mate for Trump, Mary Fallin's role as Okahoma Governor makes her eminentlly qualified for a role at the Department of the Interior, which oversees government mining activities as well as the Bureau of Indian Affairs. She's the first woman governor in Oklahoma history and has had a variety of roles in state government, including as lieutenant governor. She also served two terms in the US House of Representatitves.

Rick Perry

Former Texas governor

Rumored

Rick Perry was among the first 2016 Republicans to criticize Trump, but he dropped out of the race early and was also among the first former rivals to endorse him. As longest-serving governor of the oil state of Texas -- Perry left office 2015 -- he has a natural interest in the Department of Energy. But when he ran for president in 2012, it was one of the three departments Perry said he'd eliminate from the federal government. The Interior Department was not one of the agencies he forgot he'd want to eliminate during a fateful 2011 debate performance. "Oops," he said at the mistake, which likely ended his presidential aspirations

Cathy McMorris Rodgers

Congresswoman from Washington

Rumored

Cathy McMorris Rodgers is the top woman in the House Republican conference and an important conservative voice. She sits on the powerful Energy committee and has made disability issues a focus; her son was born with special needs. As her office bio states, she's the only person to give birth three times while in office as a congresswoman.

Secretary of Agriculture

Forrest Lucas

Founder, Lucas Oil Products

Rumored

Forrest Lucas founded Lucas Oil and, like Vice President-elect Mike Pence, he hails from Indiana. In addition to being a former long-haul trucker, he's an anti-animal rights activist -- which is to say he founded a non-profit organization to combat the “radical” animal rights movement. The motto of Protect the Harvest is “keeping America free, fed and fun."

Senior advisers

Stephen Bannon

Donald Trump campaign CEO

Named

Stephen Bannon went on leave from his position as executive chairman of Breitbart News in August 2016 to helm Donald Trump's presidential campaign. He's a controversial figure in the media world since Breitbart has been a key part of the "alt-right" movement that trades in conspriacy theories like questioning Hillary Clinton's health. They have also been major proponents of Trump's border wall proposal. Groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League have argued he should not be included in the White House staff.

Related: Read more about  Steve Bannon

Related: White Nationalists see advocate in Steve Bannon

Kellyanne Conway

Donald Trump campaign manager

Rumored

Kellyanne Conway founded The Polling Company in 1995, and has consulted on polling for major corporations and Republican politicians. She served as a senior adviser to New Gingrich's 2012 presidential bid.

David Bossie

Donald Trump deputy campaign manager

Rumored

David Bossie became the president and chairman of the conservative advocacy group Citizens United in 2000.

Hope Hicks

Donald Trump campaign press secretary

Rumored

Hope Hicks served as the press secretary for the Trump campaign. Previously she worked at a PR firm and represented Ivanka Trump's brands.

Jared Kushner

Real estate developer, newspaper owner, husband of Ivanka

Rumored

Jared Kushner helped take charge of Trump's presidential campaign and has been one of his top advisers. He's also Trump's son-in-law and has three children with his wife, Ivanka. Kushner is wealthy in his own right and runs his own family's real estate development business. He also owns the New York Observer, a newspaper. Kushner's father, Charles, a Democrat, served jailtime for making illegal campaign contributions. It was New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, now a Trump adviser, who prosecuted Kushner's father. There are federal laws against the employment of family members, so it could be difficult for Kushner to serve in an official capacity.

Corey Lewandowski

Former Trump campaign manager

Rumored

Trump's first campaign manager and a true believer from the beginning of the Trump campaign, Lewandowski was fired by the campaign in June over differences about the direction of the campaign. He remained a loyal surrogate for Trump and his message, however, during appearances on CNN during the presidential campaign.

Director, Office of Management and Budget (OMB)

Tom Coburn

Former Senator

Rumored

Tom Coburn is a retired OB-GYN and former US Senator from Oklahoma, who turned his Senate career into a crusade against government spending. People on Capitol Hill called him "Dr. No" -- as in saying "no" to spending and government programs -- before he left office in 2015. He'd have great power over government spending and the entire government infrastructure at OMB. 

Director, Environmental Protection Agency

Myron Ebell

Climate Change Contrarion

Rumored

Myron Ebell is the go-to climate change denier and he's running Donald Trump's EPA transition. He's the director of the Center for Enrgy and Environment at the libertarian-leaning Competitive Enterprise Institute and chairs the Cooler Heads coalition, which is described as a group of nonprofit organizations that "challenge global warming alarmism." He opposes government efforts to curb climate change and international treaties meant to address it.

CIA Director

Mike Pompeo

Congressman from Kansas

Nominated

A member of the Tea Party class of 2010, Pompeo also has establishment bona fides; he graduated from West Point and Harvard Law School. He formed an aerospace company, which he since sold. He served ont he special House committee tasked with investigating Hillary Clinton and the attacks on Benghazi. Trump offered Pompeo the position of CIA Director November 18.

UN Ambassador

Nikki Haley

Governor of South Carolina

Nominated

She was sharply critical of Trump's rhetoric during the GOP primary, but Nikki Haley is an important voice in the GOP. She's one of the few women mentioned as a possible Trump cabinet official and the one of the few ethnic minorities -- Haley is of Indian descent, but was born in South Carolina. She's the first woman governor in South Carolina's history, but could run into road blocks in this position since she has no foreign policy experience.

Bygones: Trump looks to critics for top jobs

Related: Trump appoints three women of color