Donald Trump will be the next President. Democratic scheming will not change this fact. However, this is not the end of the story. A President is nothing without his cabinet. The individuals Trump will appoint to these positions will determine not only how the Federal Government is run, but the very opinions and views of the President. This is only a partial list as Mr. Trump has not filled his entire cabinet yet. Despite this, the selections already announced can show how the next four years may play out.
1. Betsy DeVos- Secretary of Education
Mrs. DeVos is almost certainly the best cabinet pick by the President-elect. Mrs. DeVos has spent much of her adult life fighting against the public education monopoly. She is a strong advocate for school choice and voucher programs. DeVos is also the Chairman of Windquest Group, a firm that invests in clean energy technology.
Her appointment was immediately met with harsh criticism from Teachers’ Unions. To Conservatives and Libertarians, this is a great sign. Teachers unions have already begun to organize protests. She was initially met with some criticism regarding alleged support of common core. Mrs. DeVos then went on record clarifying her opposition to the federal program.
2. General James Mattis- Secretary of Defense
Another outstanding pick for the Trump cabinet is General Mattis, USMC. During his tenure in the Corps, Gen. Mattis was known as both “Mad Dog” and the “Warrior Monk” for his aggressive and intellectual demeanor. In regards to policy, not much is known about the General. Given his recent departure from the Corps, he could not give a position in regards to the Iraq War. We do know he believes Iran is a strategic threat and supports an active US role in the world. He is also credited with reversing Trump’s position on torture.
In Gen. Mattis, the new administration will have a proven combat commander leading the Pentagon. The General is well regarded both above and below, a rarity in this day and age. One may only expect competent leadership from Mattis in the future. We will hopefully also get more amazing quotes.
3. Reince Priebus- Chief of Staff
If Trump wants to further any of his goals, he will need to work with Congress. GOP Chairman Reince Priebus can deliver this better than any other. Due to his position as Chairman and his personal relationships with Congressmen (Speaker Paul Ryan in particular), Mr. Priebus can aid the Trump administration in executing it’s agenda more than any other individual. Additionally, Priebus will serve as a stable conservative advisor for President Trump. His appointment will be vital to the new administration’s success.
4. Tom Price- Secretary of Health and Human Services
Georgia’s Tom Price represents a big win for both Conservatives and Libertarians. Dr. Price has long been an opponent of the Affordable Healthcare Act (AHA). As a Congressman, he was among the first to draft a bill to repeal and replace the law. In addition to fighting the AHA, he has also pushed remove medicare as an entitlement. He instead favors block grants to states to administer as they see fit. Additionally, he has also advocated, along with most Republicans, to defund Planned Parenthood.
5. Wilbur Ross- Secretary of Commerce
Mr. Ross is an individual with a reputation. In the early 2000’s, he bought a number of steel companies that were in deep trouble. By renegotiating deals with unions and slashing unnecessary spending, he managed to save thousands of jobs in the industry. Without Mr. Ross (Or someone like him), domestic steel production would most certainly be in a very bad place.
In regards to policy, he has been very skeptical of regional trade deals in a manner similar to Ron Paul. Despite this, he has also stated that “Tariffs are not the first thing, they’re the last thing“. Mr. Ross’ positions on specific issues are not particularly well known. He used to support both Sen. Cruz and Sen. Rubio. This implies that while he may oppose current trade deals, he is not a supporter of nativist policies or extreme protectionism.
1. Sen. Jeff Sessions- Attorney General
Jeff Sessions is among the most regressive figures in the criminal justice reform debate. Sessions is a strong supporter of the war on drugs, even stating that “Good people don’t smoke marijuana“. He has also opposed the reduction of mandatory minimum sentences.
To be fair, he did work to eliminate the Ku Klux Klan in Alabama. He also worked to reduce the disparity in crack and powdered cocaine sentences. He is however, not the man we need to further necessary reforms in the Criminal Justice system.
2. Elaine Chao- Secretary of Transportation
Possibly the most ‘Insider’ pick of the new cabinet so far is Mrs. Elaine Chao. Chao has worked in the government on and off for over thirty years. She has worked in both the Department of Labor and Transportation. She is also the wife of Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell. This detail is important. Some have stated that she was chosen due to her ability to persuade her husband to pass massive infrastructure spending that she will control.
Mrs. Chao has worked well in foundations outside of government. She is a Distinguished Fellow with the Heritage Foundation and was CEO of the United Way. In the latter, she aided in restoring confidence in the charity following her predecessor’s mismanagement. Despite this, her function in the administration will be to access as much taxpayer money as possible.
3. Gov. Nikki Haley- United Nations Ambassador
Governor Haley is not a bad person or a bad public official. By most accounts she was effective as Governor of South Carolina. She is however, a bad choice for UN Ambassador. Gov. Haley has never held a position that dealt with foreign relations. It is probable that Gov. Haley was a purely political appointee. Her appointment does look good to the establishment GOP, but that is useless on the international stage.
4. Ben Carson- Housing and Urban Development Secretary
Much like Gov. Haley, the selection of Dr. Carson for HUD Secretary is purely political. Dr. Carson has no experience in urban planning or development. While his medical experience is certainly admirable, it simply does not translate to running a department such as HUD. This is doubly concerning as not long ago, Carson denied offers to join the administration due to lack of experience.
1. Steve Bannon- Chief Strategist
Many allegations have been made against Mr. Bannon since his appointment. They mainly center around anti-semitic statements he made to his now ex-wife. These charges are shaky at best. This is especially true considering that he employed a number of Jewish writers at Breitbart, including Ben Shapiro. Mr. Shapiro, despite strongly disliking Bannon, has stated on numerous occasions that he has never seen evidence of Bannon being anti-semitic.
The real issue with Mr. Bannon is his ideology. He is not a Conservative, nor a Libertarian. He does not believe in small government. Bannon is, by every measure, a right-wing authoritarian. He has described himself as an “Economic Nationalist” and decried “globalism”. This means anti-trade, pro-tariff, and anti-Liberty. The appointment of Bannon to such a position confirms many fears that Trump’s administration will be one of protectionism and economic folly.
2. Steve Mnuchin- Secretary of the Treasury
Possibly the biggest slap in the face to Trump supporters is the selection of Steve Mnuchin as Treasury Secretary. He is a lifelong Democrat and has donated to Leftists for years. He also used to work for not only for Goldman-Sachs, but managed a hedge fund for George Soros. Given this knowledge, one can only assume that his appointment signals a continuation of destructive crony-capitalist policies. So much for draining the swamp.
What Does This All Mean?
Trump’s cabinet is complicated. There are going to be great individuals such as Dr. Price, Gen. Mattis and Mrs. DeVos. There will also be be terrible people such as Steve Bannon. Generally speaking however, the government is shaping to be an odd mixture of various right-wing policies with a dash of cronyism. Basically what most Libertarians expected. However, the story is not over. Trump has yet to fill his cabinet, and inauguration is still months away. That is when the real work begins.