As newly elected President Trump begins his tenure in office, three members of his cabinet have been confirmed, John Kelly as head of Homeland Security, James Mattis as secretary of Defense, and Mike Pompeo of head of the CIA. Many others have been completed their Senate hearings but are yet to be confirmed, but several of those nominated have yet to have a hearing scheduled.
John Kelly enlisted in the U.S. Marine corps in the 1970s, and had performed and commanded many military operations since.Retired Marine Corps general James Mattis commanded the 1st Marine Division during the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and was instrumental in subsequent military operations in the Middle East, particularly in Iraq and Afghanistan. Mattis, sometimes called “Mad Dog” has also garnered some criticism for private comments where he reportedly said “it’s a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them” regarding Afghans. Mike Pompeo was confirmed for head of the CIA on Monday. A former congressman from Kansas, Pompeo has largely conservative views, opposing abortion, the Affordable Care Act, environmental legislation, and supporting the NRA.
Chosen for Environmental Protection Agency administrator is the Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt. The choice has been met with some criticism, as Pruitt has been an outspoken opponent of former President Barack Obama’s proposed and enacted regulations on climate change, launching many lawsuits against the EPA. Pruitt maintains that current EPA regulations wastes billions of taxpayer dollars. Upon his appointment, Pruitt said, “I intend to run this agency in a way that fosters both responsible protection of the environment and freedom for American businesses.” Pruitt has undergone his senate hearing, and awaits the committee vote in order to be confirmed as head of the EPA.
Georgia Rep. Tom Price was named Secretary of health and human services. Also awaiting her committee vote is Betsy DeVos, who was nominated for head of the Department of Education. She faces a possible second hearing as Democrats, doubtful of her knowledge of the American education system request a second hearing, though these requests will likely be denied. Tom Price former orthopedic surgeon and House representative, Price has been very outspoken against Obamacare, introducing legislation to repeal it, and stating that he believes it offers Americans more expensive and less beneficial care. Tom Price awaits his senate hearing, which is scheduled for this Tuesday.
Lastly, Trump appointed Steve Bannon as his chief strategist and advisor along with Jared Kushner, Trump’s son in law on January 22, 2017. Bannon became executive chair of Breitbart news, a notoriously far right news channel in 2012. Bannon describes himself and his channel as “virulently anti-establishment, particularly ‘anti-‘ the permanent political class.” A supporter of Donald Trump throughout the election process, Bannon was a likely pick for the position, but has sparked some controversy. He has been accused of anti-semitism, xenophobic and sexist comments, all of which he and the Trump administration have denied. Jared Kushner faced controversy as well. His position as chief advisor has been called into question, with many saying that his appointment violates nepotism laws. President Trump’s cabinet remains unfinished, but it seems likely that all of those nominated will be appointed, in a cabinet with a uniquely high percentage of business men, perhaps setting the tone for the politics of Trump’s presidency.