During Senate hearings and cabinet confirmations, a lot of names were floating around the headlines. With so many names to keep track of, check out this essential guide to our current presidential administration.
Story by Alyssa Frost
Position: Secretary of State
Name: Rex Tillerson
As Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson is the president's chief foreign affairs adviser. He’ll carry out foreign policies through the State Department, which includes the Foreign Service, Civil Service, and U.S. Agency for International Development. Tillerson graduated from the University of Texas at Austin and is now the Chairman and CEO of Exxon Mobile. He also received the Order of Friendship from the one and only Vladimir Putin in 2013. Seriously. Tillerson is a strong climate change skeptic, big oilman and has no government experience.
Position: Treasury Secretary
Name: Steven Mnuchin
As Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin is responsible for strengthening national security by combating economic threats and protecting the integrity of our financial system, as well as managing the U.S. Government's finances. Something about him that’s both haunting and entertaining is that he helped produce the Academy-Award nominated film Suicide Squad. He’s a former Goldman Sach’s banker and successful Wall Street figure who was formerly sued by Donald Trump. He is a billionaire with no government experience.
Position: Secretary of Defense
Name: James “Mad Dog” Mattis
As Secretary of Defense, Mad Dog Mattis will be responsible for the exercise of policy development, planning, resource management, fiscal, and program evaluation responsibilities. He’s a Marine general who served more than 40 years in the Marine Corps. He disagrees with Trump that the media is America’s enemy. He also seems too chill with the idea of killing people.
“Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.”—Mad Dog addressing 200 Marines.
Position: Attorney General
Name: Jeff Sessions
As Attorney General, Jeff Sessions is responsible for giving counsel to President Trump, as well as heading the Department of Justice, dealing with all kinds of litigation. He served as an Alabama Senator for two decades and his career was almost derailed after his colleagues accused him of being racist. Nice. Oh you also probably heard he was accused of perjury at his confirmation hearing. Sessions is also a climate change skeptic, who said that carbon dioxide is plant food, and can’t really harm anybody besides the slight rise of temperature.
Position: Health and Human Services Secretary
Name: Tom Price
As Health and Human Services Secretary, Tom Price will be responsible for leading the department that regulates food and drugs, sponsors much of the nation’s biomedical research and combats public health threats. He was a senator and congressman for Georgia over the course of two decades, as well as an admired orthopedic surgeon for 20 years. He’s the current face for repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act. He has also been accused of insider trading.
“I object!”—Tom Price, multiple times, during a session in which Democratic congresswomen were testifying on how Obamacare would support women’s rights and benefit their lives.
Position: Secretary of Transportation
Name: Elaine L. Chao
As Secretary of Transportation, Elaine L. Chao will be responsible for overseeing national transportation policy, as well as promoting intermodal transportation. She also works on transportation legislation, and implementation of international transportation agreements. She has too many high ranking and impressive positions to list. She also has 36 honorary doctorate degrees. Elaine was the first women of Asian descent to be appointed to a Presidential cabinet. She also immigrated to America when she was just 8-years-old and didn’t speak any English. The bad news is, she probably can’t help us speed up construction on I-35.
Position: Secretary of Education
Name: Betsy DeVos
As Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos is responsible for setting education policy and "prohibiting discrimination and ensuring equal access to education," according to the department's mission statement. She has worked on a lot of boards, foundations, and committees advocating for school choice. She’s known for being in favor of anything besides public schools, especially charter schools and voucher programs. She also wants to get rid of free lunches in public schools. She is a billionaire with no professional experience working in education. Like, none. Zero.
Position: Secretary of the Interior
Name: Ryan Zinke
As Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke will be responsible for heading the department that protects and manages the Nation's natural resources and cultural heritage. Zinke considers himself to be a Teddy Roosevelt conservationist. He was the only Republican senator that supported an amendment that would have made the Land and Water Conservation Fund permanent. Speak softly and carry that big stick, dude. He once tried creating a bed and breakfast out of his home. Is this what Montana is like? He was also a Navy SEAL for 23 years.
“Physically, I think there are some women who can do it. But the issue is what are the unintended consequences? This is not a Demi Moore movie...”—Ryan Zinke, on whether the military was ready to incorporate more women into combat roles.
Poor G.I. Jane.
Position: Secretary of Agriculture *Not yet confirmed.
Name: Sonny Perdue
As Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue would be in charge the department that creates farm policy dor food safety, as well as funding food stamps, other nutrition programs and the Forest Service. Not only was he Governor of Georgia for eight years, but ran his own grain and fertilizer business. Environmental activists are not into him. Perdue allegedly made tons of money off of chemical distributors in the agriculture business.
Position: Secretary of Commerce
Name: Wilbur Ross
As Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross will head the department that’s responsible for “working with businesses, universities, communities, and the Nation's workers to promote job creation, economic growth, sustainable development, and improved standards of living for Americans.” Ross is an extremely successful Wall Street executive, and apparently fits the stereotype of the old man that has nothing to lose so he says whatever is on his mind, AKA my inspiration. He’s also a billionaire with no government experience.
Position: Secretary of Labor *Not yet confirmed
Name: Alexander Acosta
As Secretary of Labor, Alexander Acosta would head the department that handles labor laws, “freedom from employment discrimination, unemployment insurance, and other income support.” Acosta is the current Dean of the Florida International University’s Law school and former Assistant Attorney General of Florida. In 2011, he testified before Congress expressing the importance of protecting rights for American Muslims. If confirmed, Acosta would be the first Hispanic member of Trump’s cabinet.
Position: Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
Name: Ben Carson
General Stances: Opposed to large government programs designed to help citizens out of poverty, believes it’s up to the individual, community outreach, and church-based initiatives.
As Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Ben Carson will be leading the HUD, which oversees programs that provide vouchers and other rental assistance for low-income families, as well as helping citizens against foreclosures, according to the HUD website. Carson was the director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins at age 33, and gained fame for detaching conjoined twins. Carson grew up in an impoverished home in Detroit and was empowered to read and learn as much as he could at a young age. You remember him from the Presidential Race. He has no government experience.
“My luggage!”—Ben Carson halfway through a live CNN interview.
Position: Secretary of Homeland Security
Name: John F. Kelly
As Secretary of Homeland Security, John Kelly is responsible for basically taking care of anything that threatens the U.S. The list a long one, unfortunately. Kelly is a decorated marine who served for more than 40 years, and let’s be honest, is an extremely seasoned veteran. Kelly thinks the military would have to lower their standards in order to put women for combat roles. He held the position of U.S. Southern Command, in which he had to deal with military and nonmilitary responsibilities.
Position: Secretary of Veteran Affairs
Name: David Shulkin
As Secretary of the VA, David Shulkin will be responsible for all sectors encompassed by the VA, serving and honoring those who have served in the U.S. military. Shulkin worked previously as an undersecretary at the Department of Veterans Affairs, Former President of two hospitals, as well as founded a health-care information company called DoctorQuality. He is the first Secretary of the VA that wasn’t in the military.
Position: Secretary of Energy
Name: Rick Perry
As Secretary of Energy, Rick Perry’s responsibilities include ensuring security and prosperity by dealing with energy, environmental, and nuclear challenges. Sixty percent of the Department of Energy’s budget goes towards nuclear safety and security. Perry is the longest-serving governor of Texas (from 2000 to 2015), was a captain in the Air Force, and was also a cotton farmer. More importantly, he was on Season 23 of Dancing with the Stars. During a debate in 2011, Perry couldn’t remember the name of the Department of Energy when he was listing off the three federal departments he wanted to get rid of. Now he’s been sought out to run it. Received a ‘D’ in a class called “Meats” while an undergrad at Texas A&M.