Over the last several weeks, we’ve heard a flurry of names announced for top Cabinet posts in the incoming Trump administration.
In total, more than 4,000 political appointees will be joining government when Trump takes office. Of those, about 1,200 require Senate confirmation, including the Cabinet secretaries and their deputies, as well as appointees who will head the CIA, Environmental Protection Agency and other independent agencies, according to the Partnership for Public Service.
Trump has already made several appointments that do no require Senate confirmation, including Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn as National Security Advisor; Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus was named White House Chief of Staff; and Stephen Bannon, Breitbart News Executive Chairman, was tapped to serve as Chief Strategist.
The Cabinet includes the vice president and the heads of 15 executive departments, including the secretaries of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs, as well as the Attorney General.
To help you keep track, we’ve provided a few details about the nominees and will be adding to the list as more names are revealed.
Secretary of State: Rex W. Tillerson
Tillerson, 64, is a Texas-native oil executive and engineer. He is currently the CEO of ExxonMobil, and helped recover the company from a stock drop last year. Tillerson also has ties to Russia and Vladimir Putin, because of his company's oil business in the country.
Commerce Secretary: Wilbur Ross
Ross, 79, is a prominent investor and longtime ally of Trump. He lent the president-elect a helping hand when Trump’s casino company went bankrupt in the early 1990s. He is worth $2.9 billion, according to Forbes, and is known for taking over struggling companies in industries such as coal, auto and textiles.
Attorney General: Sen. Jeff Sessions
Sessions is a Republican Senator from Alabama, who served as a Ranking Member of the Senate Budget Committee in the 112th and 113th Congresses. The 69-year-old (soon to be 70 on Dec. 24) was one of Trump’s early supporters on Capitol Hill. Prior to becoming a senator, Sessions was elected Alabama Attorney General in 1995 and served as the state’s chief legal officer until 1997 when he entered the U.S. Senate. He is currently serving his fourth term as a senator.
Health and Human Services Secretary: Rep. Tom Price
Rep. Price was elected to Congress in 2004 after serving four terms in the Georgia State Senate. Price, 62, is a vocal critic of the Affordable Care Act that President Obama signed into law in 2010. He prides himself on being a fierce opponent of government waste, who is devoted to limited government and lower spending. Rep. Price worked in private practice as an orthopedic surgeon for nearly 20 years.
Education Secretary: Betsy DeVos
DeVos, 58, is a billionaire philanthropist and education activist from Michigan. She is a proponent of school choice, which allows students and their families to use public education dollars to attend schools outside of their assigned district. “I’m a total outsider to elective office and government, but I’m no stranger to the political process,” DeVos said on her personal website. She is not a supporter of Common Core standards, which she said has turned into a “federalized boondoggle.”
Transportation Secretary: Elaine Chao
Chao served as Secretary of Labor under President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2009 and was the only original cabinet member to stay on board all eight years of his administration. She also served as Deputy Secretary at the Department of Transportation under President George H. W. Bush. Her government service includes Chairman of the Federal Maritime Commission, Deputy Maritime Administrator and White House Fellow. Prior to her start in government, she was Vice President of Syndications at Bank of America Capital Markets Group and a banker with Citicorp. The 63-year-old is married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.
Treasury Secretary: Steven Mnuchin
Mnuchin, 53, is a former Goldman Sachs banker, political fundraiser for Trump and a film producer. He spent 17 years at Goldman Sachs before leaving in 2002. As a movie financier, Mnuchin has helped fund and produce several movies, including “Sully,” “Storks,” “The Legend of Tarzan” and “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.”
Defense Secretary: James N. Mattis
Mattis, 66, is a retired U.S. Marine Corps general, who his troops often referred to as Mad Dog Mattis. He is known for his blunt speaking (check out some of his memorable quotes here) and for being very in-tune to intellectual happenings, often requiring cadets under his command to complete a reading list. Mattis served as the Commander of the U.S. Central Command before retiring from the Marine Corps after a 41-year career. His appointment would require Congress to waive a federal law that prohibits a defense secretary from having been on active duty in the past seven years.
Housing and Urban Development Secretary: Ben Carson
Carson is a retired neurosurgeon, who rose to fame after successfully separating conjoined twins in 1987. The 65-year-old former Republican candidate for president was at one time considered for HHS Secretary. But Carson’s adviser Armstrong Williams told The Hill in November that "Dr. Carson feels he has no government experience, he's never run a federal agency. The last thing he would want to do was take a position that could cripple the presidency." But in a subsequent Facebook post leading up to his official nomination, Carson said after serious discussions with the Trump team he feels that he “can make a significant contribution particularly to making our inner cities great for everyone.” Contrary to earlier reports, Carson did not live in public housing growing up.
Homeland Security Secretary: John F. Kelly
Kelly, a retired Marine Corps general, stepped down as head of U.S. Southern Command in January 2016 after more than 45 years of service in the military. According to Military Times, Kelly, 66, is one of the military's longest serving commanders and the most senior officer since 9/11 to lose a child in combat. He is the third general tapped to serve in the Trump administration.
Labor Secretary: Andrew Puzder
Puzder, a 66-year-old Ohio native, is the current CEO of CKE Restaurants, a company that owns, operates and franchises popular fast food chains, including Hardee's and Carl's Jr. He attended Washington University School of Law and was a staunch Trump supporter on the campaign trail. He is known as being a vocal critic of raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, and stands against Obama administration efforts to expand overtime eligibility for millions of workers.
Small Business Administration: Linda McMahon
McMahon is a 68-year-old businesswoman and politician, hailing from North Carolina. McMahon is most known for her contribution in turning the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc.) into a multinational company. She has also ran for seats in the U.S. Senate twice, losing both times to Connecticut Democrats.
Environmental Protection Agency: Scott Pruitt
Pruitt, 48, is the current Attorney General of the state of Oklahoma. He has been a sharp critic of EPA regulations in the past, even going so far as suing the agency. Pruitt is also known for having a strong alliance with the oil and gas industry. He has been quoted many times as saying that the EPA's reach extends too far.
Editorial Fellow Korey Lane and Technology Writer Nicole Blake Johnson contributed to this report.