Trump’s Clique


Since his presidential victory on November 8, there has been much talk and anticipation concerning who Donald Trump will nominate to be a part of his presidential cabinet. Recently, the President-Elect began to release and confirm the names of his nominations, which are subject to Senate approval.

Many people are unhappy with Trump’s choices. Incoming Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer commented, “President-elect Trump is attempting to fill his rigged cabinet with nominees that would break key campaign promises and have made billions off the industries they’d be tasked with regulating.”

The inner cabinet, those with the most direct access to the commander-in-chief, consists of the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Treasury, the Secretary of Defense, and the Attorney General. Trump’s choices for these crucial positions have already become public.

For Secretary of Treasury, Steven Mnuchin has been nominated. Mnuchin is a former Goldman Sachs banker, was the national finance director of Trump’s presidential campaign, and has no government experience.

Trump has nominated Rex Tillerson for one of the most important jobs in any president’s inner circle, Secretary of State. Tillerson’s nomination continues Trump’s nominations of wealthy businessmen. Tillerson, 64, is known for serving as the chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil, one of the most powerful oil companies in the world, from 2006 to 2016. His nomination has generated controversy for multiple reasons. Tillerson not only lacks government experience, but also has a close relationship with Russia, even receiving the Order of Friendship from Vladimir Putin in 2013.

James Mattis has been chosen as the Secretary of Defense nominee. Mattis is a former Marine general. However, Mattis has only been retired since 2013 and, by law, the Secretary of Defense must be retired from the military for at least seven years. For this reason, in addition to Senate approval, Mattis’s occupation of his position will require Congress to grant him a waiver.

Jeff Sessions’s nomination for Attorney General has already drawn outrage. Sessions, a senator from Alabama, is known for his controversial statements concerning minorities. In the 1980s, Sessions called organizations, such as the NAACP, un-American and made a remark about being fine with the KKK until discovering they were “pot smokers”. His history caused protests outside of his Senate hearing during which protesters dressed as KKK members, bringing to light Sessions’s racist remarks. During his hearing, Sessions called accusations that he is racist, “damnably false”.

Although many of the nominees are not significant political figures, Trump’s choices are not as shocking as they may seem. He is filling his cabinet with mostly conservative, wealthy businesspeople. The President-elect is surrounding himself with acquaintances who stand on his side.

Despite the public’s doubts and critique, Trump is confident that his nominations will go through. “I think they’ll pass,” said Trump of the people he has chosen.

Senator Bernie Sanders has shown strong opposition toward Trump’s cabinet pick, criticizing his choice of wealthy business giants. “I guess they have a few poor millionaires on it, but, mostly, it is billionaires. And this is coming from a candidate for president, Mr. Trump, who told us he was going to take on the establishment. Well, maybe I am not seeing something here, but you don’t appoint the head of ExxonMobil to be secretary of state. That is not quite taking on the establishment,” said Sanders on CBS.

Trump’s rise to power has been surrounded by controversy since day one and his cabinet nominations of non-political members of the top one percent has only garnered his administration more outrage from the public.

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