The men and women who'll run Donald Trump government

US President-elect Donald Trump. He is set to be sworn in on January 20, 2017. PHOTO | AFP

What you need to know:

  • For the first time since Ronald Reagan's presidency in the 1980s, the Cabinet will feature no Hispanics, if all of Trump's nominees are confirmed.

US President-elect Donald Trump on Thursday nominated former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue to be his Agriculture secretary, rounding out his Cabinet picks.

For the first time since Ronald Reagan's presidency in the 1980s, the Cabinet will feature no Hispanics, if all of Trump's nominees are confirmed.

The following is a list of key Cabinet and other nominations made by Trump, who takes office on Friday.


  • State: Rex Tillerson, 64

The silver-haired president and CEO of ExxonMobil, who has never worked in government, could face a difficult confirmation battle due to his close ties to Russia's Vladimir Putin.

Former ExxonMobil executive Rex Tillerson. PHOTO | SAUL LOEB | AFP.

Tillerson has spent his entire career at Exxon, working his way up from being a production engineer to running the massive company.

  • Treasury: Steven Mnuchin, 54

The Wall Street veteran was a partner at Goldman Sachs before he launched an investment fund backed by Democratic Party supporter George Soros and financed Hollywood blockbusters like "Avatar" and "Suicide Squad." 

Steven Mnuchin testifies before Senate Finance Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, January 19, 2017, on his nomination. PHOTO | JIM WATSON | AFP.

  • Defence: James Mattis, 66

A retired four star Marine general, Mattis commanded US forces in the Middle East and Southwest Asia from 2010 to 2013, capping a career as a combat commander that earned him the nickname "Mad Dog."

A scholar of warfare, he is said to have a particular interest in the challenge posed by Iran.

Retired Marine Corps general James Mattis. PHOTO | MANDEL NGAN | AFP.

To become secretary of defence, Mattis needs a congressional waiver from a law that bars generals from serving as defence secretary for seven years after leaving active duty. 

  • Attorney-General: Jeff Sessions, 70

One of Trump's earliest campaign supporters, the anti-immigration senator from Alabama has a much criticized record on race relations and was once denied a judgeship amid concerns over past comments about African Americans.

The attorney-general heads the department of justice. 

  • Homeland Security: John Kelly, 66

The retired Marine general most recently led the US Southern Command, which covers US military operations in Central and South America.

General John Kelly, USMC (Ret.). He terms the claims as total bullshit. PHOTO | MOLLY RILEY | AFP.

He is expected to be very tough on illegal immigration and the illicit drugs trade.

He also has been shaped by the death of his son, a Marine, in Afghanistan in 2010. 

  • Commerce: Wilbur Ross, 79

A US investor and billionaire, Ross is best known for buying failing steel and coal firms and selling them for profit.

Business investor Wilbur Ross, Jr., testifies during his confirmation hearing for Secretary of Commerce before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, January 18, 2017. PHOTO | SAUL LOEB | AFP.

He was once known as the "king of bankruptcy" for his history of investing in such businesses.

  •  Education: Betsy DeVos, 59

A wealthy activist and Republican megadonor from Michigan, DeVos is a champion of alternatives to local government schools, backing a movement that advocates the use of tax credits and vouchers to allow parents to opt out of the public school system.

Betsy DeVos speaks during her confirmation hearing for Secretary of Education before the Senate Health, Education, Labour, and Pensions Committee on Capitol Hill January 17, 2017 in Washington, DC. PHOTO | BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI | AFP.

  •  Energy: Rick Perry, 66

The former Texas governor, a onetime rival of Trump for the Republican presidential nomination, once vowed to eliminate the department he has now been asked to run.

Former Governor Rick Perry is sworn-in before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee committee hearing on his nomination to be energy secretary on Capitol Hill in Washington on January 19, 2017. AFP PHOTO | YURI GRIPAS | AFP.

Perry, a US Air Force veteran who grew up in a farming family, took part this autumn in the latest season of ABC's "Dancing with the Stars."

  •  Health and Human Services: Tom Price, 62

The Georgia lawmaker and former orthopaedic surgeon is a robust critic of President Barack Obama's signature health care reform law, the Affordable Care Act, which has provided health coverage to 20 million Americans.

Tom Price testifies before the Health, Education, Labour, and Pensions Committee on his nomination to be the next health and human services secretary on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on January 18, 2017. PHOTO | MANDEL NGAN | AFP.

  •  Housing and Urban Development: Ben Carson, 65

The retired neurosurgeon and onetime rival to Trump for the Republican presidential nomination is so far the only African American named to Trump's cabinet.

Ben Carson testifies during his confirmation hearing for Secretary of Housing and Urban Development before the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, January 12, 2017. PHOTO | SAUL LOEB | AFP.

The religious conservative with no experience in elective office, who grew up poor in Detroit, will be tasked with turning around America's troubled inner cities.

  •  Interior: Ryan Zinke, 55

The fifth-generation Montana native and former Navy SEAL currently serves as a congressman, with a spot on the House Committee on Natural Resources.

Congressman Ryan Zinke testifies before Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, January 17, 2017, on his nomination to be Secretary of the Interior in the Trump administration. PHOTO | JIM WATSON | AFP.

In nominating him, Trump said Zinke supports the "multiple-use" management of federal lands for economic, recreational and conservational purposes.

  • Labor: Andrew Puzder, 66

The chief executive of CKE Restaurants, which owns fast food chains Carl's Jr and Hardee's, is opposed to raising the national minimum wage.

He also backs the increasing use of automated technology to keep labour costs down.

  •  Transportation: Elaine Chao, 63

The Taiwan-born Chao served as deputy secretary of transportation in the 1980s, and was later US labour secretary under president George W. Bush.

US Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao. She says the man who harassed her sexually is still around. PHOTO | CHRIS KLEPONIS | AFP.

She is the first Asian-American woman to serve in a presidential Cabinet and is the wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

  •  Agriculture: Sonny Perdue, 70

Perdue, the former governor of Georgia, is a veterinarian by training who was a small business owner and also spent a decade as a state senator.

Former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue speaks to the media in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York, after meetings with US President-elect Donald Trump. PHOTO | AFP.

  •  Veterans Affairs: David J. Shulkin, 57

Shulkin is the only Cabinet holdover from the current administration, in which he serves as undersecretary of health for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

He previously worked as chief medical officer of the University of Pennsylvania health system.


  • White House Chief of Staff: Reince Priebus, 44

Head of the Republican National Committee, Priebus is a seasoned political operative who can build bridges between Trump and a skittish Republican leadership, particularly House Speaker Paul Ryan, a longtime ally.

  •  Environmental Protection Agency: Scott Pruitt, 48

The attorney-general for the state of Oklahoma is a known climate change sceptic and an ally of the fossil fuel industry.

Scott Pruitt testifies during a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill January 18, 2017 in Washington, DC. PHOTO | ZACH GIBSON | AFP.

Before accepting the nomination, Pruitt spent much time battling the agency he is tapped to lead.

  •  Ambassador to the United Nations: Nikki Haley, 44

As South Carolina's governor, Haley rose to prominence when she led efforts for the divisive Confederate flag to be pulled from the state's capitol following a 2015 massacre at a historic black church in Charleston. The daughter of Indian immigrants was sharply critical of Trump during the election campaign.

Nikki Haley testifies during her confirmation hearing for US Ambassador to the United Nations (UN) before the Senate Foreign Relations committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, January 18, 2017. PHOTO | SAUL LOEB | AFP.

  •  Small Business Administration: Linda McMahon, 68

The wrestling tycoon and two-time Republican candidate for the US Senate from Connecticut, will now be responsible for supporting America's 28 million small businesses, which employ around half the country's private-sector workforce.



  • Chief Strategist: Steve Bannon, 63

A key figure in Trump's victorious election campaign, Bannon served as executive chairman of conservative news platform Breitbart, a favourite news source of the so-called "alt-right," an offshoot conservative movement that embraces a mixture of populism, racism and white nationalism.

US President-elect Donald Trump Chief Strategist Steve Bannon is seen during a press conference January 11, 2017 in New York. PHOTO | AFP.

His appointment, which does not require Senate confirmation, has been controversial. 

  • National Security Adviser: Michael Flynn, 57

A top military counsel to Trump, the retired three-star general, a veteran of America's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, has courted controversy with extreme statements that critics say border on Islamophobia, but has taken a more flexible line on Russia and China.

National Security Adviser Designate Michael Flynn speaks during a conference on the transition of the US Presidency from Barack Obama to Donald Trump at the US Institute Of Peace in Washington DC, January 10, 2017. PHOTO | CHRIS KLEPONIS | AFP.

The national security adviser is not formally part of the Cabinet but is usually one of the president's most influential advisors.

  •  CIA Director: Mike Pompeo, 52

A strident critic of the Iran nuclear deal, the hawkish Kansas congressman was elected in 2010 to the House of Representatives, where he was a member of the hardline Tea Party faction and one of the leaders of the controversial Benghazi Committee that targeted Trump's Democratic presidential rival Hillary Clinton. 

US Congressman Mike Pompeo is sworn in before testifying before the Senate (Select) Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, January 12, 2017, on his nomination to be director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in the Trump administration. PHOTO | JIM WATSON | AFP.

  • White House Counsel: Donald McGahn, late 40s

A former commissioner and chairman of the Federal Election Commission, McGahn represents "elected officials, candidates, national state parties, political consultants, and others on political law issues," as a partner at the Jones Day law firm in Washington.


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