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Trump’s cabinet selections: the short list

Michaela Kwoka-Coleman, News Editor

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In the weeks following the November election, President-elect Donald Trump has been selecting the members for his White House cabinet. So far, Trump filled seven of the vacant cabinet positions with former news executives, lobbyists and high-ranking Republican officials. Here’s a breakdown of who has been appointed to what positions.

Chief Strategist: Stephen Bannon

Bannon is the former executive chairman of Breitbart, an alt-right news organization that has published controversial articles such as “Birth control makes women unattractive and crazy” and “Hoist it high and proud: The Confederate flag proclaims a glorious heritage.” Bannon has been a leader of the alt-right nationalist movement, which has been likened to the Nazi party by critics for their white supremacist beliefs and attitudes. As chief strategist, Bannon will be the main advisor to Trump and the rest of his administration.

Chief of Staff: Reince Priebus

Priebus is the current chairman of the Republican National Convention and was an adviser to Trump during his campaign. Although he has never held an elected position, Priebus served as the chairman for the Wisconsin Republican Party before joining the RNC. During Trump’s campaign, Priebus worked with Trump to solidify his agenda and presidential politics. As chief of staff, Priebus will be responsible for advancing Trump’s agenda through Congress, as Priebus has the Washington connections Trump lacks.

National Security Adviser: Michael Flynn

A retired army general and the former Defense Intelligence Agency director, Flynn was an national security adviser to Trump during his presidential campaign. Flynn, a registered Democrat, is an ardent believer that Islam poses a threat to the United States. However, Flynn himself has “hazy” business ties to the Middle East. His consulting firm, the Flynn Intel Group, has reportedly lobbied for the Turkish government. Additionally, Flynn had a paid speaking engagement last year with Russia Today, a Kremlin-funded news station. Both of these situations have caused critics to question whether Flynn will potentially have conflicts of interest while he is serving. As national security adviser, Flynn will have a direct role in molding foreign policy.

C.I.A Director: Mike Pompeo

Pompeo, a Congressman from Kansas and former Army officer, was a harsh critic of Hillary Clinton during the congressional investigation into 2012 Benghazi attack. A member of the House Intelligence Committee, Pompeo has advocated for the return of collecting en-masse Americans’ domestic call records. Once confirmed by the Senate, Pompeo’s new role as C.I.A director will require him to remain non-partisan to operate above politics.

Attorney General: Jeff Sessions

Alabama Senator Sessions is known for his strong conservative stances on immigration, crime, drugs and guns. Sessions was the first senator to endorse Trump back in February while other Republican officials were shunning the businessman. Once confirmed by the Senate, Sessions, the top law enforcement official in the country, will be responsible for carrying out the promises Trump made during his campaign regarding enforcement of the law. In addition to enforcing law, Sessions and those who work for him will have influence in shaping federal policies.

U.N. Ambassador: Nikki Haley

As the current governor of South Carolina, Haley was critical of Trump during his presidential campaign, primarily against his unwillingness to condemn white supremacy groups. Trump responded by calling Haley, who is the daughter of Indian immigrants, weak on her illegal immigration stance. Haley has had little foreign experience, but former U.N. Ambassador John D. Negroponte said she was an “intriguing and very good choice.”

Secretary of Education: Betsy DeVos

DeVos is a former chairwoman of the Republican National Committee and a strong proponent of charter schools. Publicly funded, charter schools run independently of school boards and teachers unions. Additionally, DeVos advocates for the voucher program, which applies tax credits to private school tuition for students. However, critics such as Lily Eskelsen Garcia, the president of the National Education Association, said that DeVos has supported failing schemes, referencing the voucher program.

* All information comes from The New York Times.

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