Here Are the Latest People to Join Donald Trump's Team

November 29th 2016

Danielle DeCourcey

President-elect Donald Trump's cabinet appointees continue to stoke controversy.

In recent weeks, Trump has appointed Steve Bannon, editor of white nationalist website Breitbart.com, as his chief strategist, offered Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions the post of attorney general, and met with Kansas Secretary of State Kris Koback to discuss immigration. Each of those names have prompted backlash for their previous comments about ethnic and religious minorities and immigrants.

Trump has also courted accusations of hypocrisy after it was reported he would announce Goldman Sachs banker Steven Mnuchin as his secretary of the treasury on Wednesday, according to The New York Times. The appointment comes despite Trump's frequent criticisms of Wall Street during the presidential campaign, and his promise to "drain the swap" of Beltway insiders.

Here are five of Trumps latest cabinet picks:

1. Elaine Chao

Trump picked Chao on Tuesday to be his secretary of transportation. She has to be confirmed by a Republican-controlled senate led by her husband Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConell (R-Ky). Previously, the 63-year-old was the labor secretary under President George W. Bush and deputy secretary of transportation under President George H.W. Bush. Chao was the first Asian-American woman to serve in a cabinet position, according to CNN.

Chao will have the difficult task of of convincing Congress to ask taxpayers to pony up for Trump's pricey infrastructure plan.

"Trump’s plan frames the infrastructure problem as a lack of innovative financing options," the Economic Policy Institute's Josh Bivens and Hunter Blair wrote in a blog post. "This is nonsense. The problem is that politicians don’t want to ask taxpayers to pay for valued infrastructure."

2. Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.)

Price, who will administer the Affordable Health Care Act if approved as HHS secretary, is a vocal Obamacare opponent and has even made steps to repeal the plan.

The 62-year-old orthopedic surgeon introduced the detailed Empowering Patients First Act into Congress, which would cut the Medicaid expansion that provides care to low-income Americans, and has less protections for people with pre-existing conditions, according to Vox.

3. Gov. Nikki Haley

Haley, the 44-year-old governor of South Carolina, is Trump's nominee to be the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. The Republican-controlled Senate has to confirm her nomination. Haley is the daughter of Indian immigrants and previously supported former candidates for the Republican presidential nomination Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).

Haley became well-known nationally after speaking against the confederate flag, following the racially motivated shooting of nine people at a black church in Charleston, South Carolina. She has no foreign policy or international diplomacy experience, according to Vox.

Oxfam International, a group of charitable organizations that focus on poverty around the world, released a statement on Haley's nomination.

“Nikki Haley has a record of speaking her mind," part of the statement read. "If confirmed, we hope she will raise that voice on behalf of the world’s most vulnerable people who suffer from hunger, violence and injustice around the world.”

4. Betsy Devos

Trump nominated 58-year-old Devos to be his secretary of education. Devos is a billionaire from Michigan, according to The Washington Post. Her husband, Dick Devos, founded a charter school in Michigan, and she's been criticized for her efforts to redirect public money toward private schools.

In an article for the Washington Post, Aaron Pallas, professor of sociology and education at the Teachers College in Columbia University, wrote that Devos is incredibly inexperienced with public school education.

"Betsy DeVos, his choice as education secretary, attended private schools and sent her children to them," he wrote "So as far as personal interaction with public education, she doesn’t even have that going for her."

He outlined some worst case scenarios for if Devos is confirmed as treasury secretary.

Pallas said that Devos could funnel federal money into private school vouchers for individual children and take money from the public school system. She may also encourage state governments to do the same. Pallas said this would move American education toward a private enterprise model.

"School quality takes a back seat to marketing, as the only measure of success is a school’s ability to attract students who bring public dollars with them," he wrote.

5. Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.)

Trump picked Pompeo to be his CIA Director. The Senate will have to confirm his nomination. The congressman served on an inquiry committee that investigated former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's response to the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi, Libya, which resulted in the death of four Americans.

The New York Times's Mark Mazzetti wrote that Pompeo could become "one of the most overtly partisan figures to take over the C.I.A. — a spy agency that, at least publicly, is supposed to operate above politics and avoid a direct role in policy making."c

Pompeo advocated for U.S. intelligence officials to once again collect American call records in mass amounts, and denounced President Obama's order to shut down highly confidential locations used for torturing enemy combatants, known as "black-sites."

Dr. Ben Carson could be considering a position.

The former candidate for the Republican presidential nomination is reportedly a front runner for a position as housing secretary, according to the Times. However Carson reportedly said he was not interested in a cabinet position in the Trump administration.

He also made some controversial comments about housing desegregation in an opinion piece in The Washington Times last year. He compared the Obama administration's policies to fight housing segregation to "failed social experiments in this country."

"These government-engineered attempts to legislate racial equality create consequences that often make matters worse," Carson wrote. "There are reasonable ways to use housing policy to enhance the opportunities available to lower-income citizens, but based on the history of failed socialist experiments in this country, entrusting the government to get it right can prove downright dangerous."

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