Senate Confirms Members of Trump’s Cabinet

With the inauguration of President Donald Trump in January 2017, the past several months has been dedicated  to the process of confirming several members of Trump’s cabinet.  While some cabinet members were approved quickly and easily, other members underwent a longer hearing because of their qualifications or beliefs.

Some of the members of Trump’s newly appointed cabinet include:

Secretary of State
Rex Tillerson

Experience: Rex Tillerson served as CEO of Exxon Mobile.

Controversy: Because Exxon Mobile, which he used to be CEO of, had international business dealings with countries such as Russia and Saudi Arabia, many were concerned that these previous business dealings may influence his position on international affairs.

Confirmed On: February 1st, 2017

Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin

Previous Experience: Served as Finance Chairman for Donald Trump’s campaign, Chief Information Officer for Goldman Sachs, and  Chairman of Dune Capital Management.

Confirmed On: February 13th, 2017

Secretary of Defense  James Mattis

Previous Experience: Served in the military from 1969-2013. Held the positions of Commander of the United States Central Command  from 2010-2013, Commander of the United States Joint Forces Command from 2007-2010, and of Supreme Allied Commander of Transformation from 2007-2009.

Confirmed On: January 20th, 2017

Attorney General Jeff Sessions

Previous Experience: Served as the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama from 1981-1993, the Alabama Attorney General from 1995-1997, and as an Alabama state senator from 1997-2017.

Controversy: Many Americans opposed his confirmation as Attorney General because of past policies he had held which many deemed discriminatory, as well as racist statements he had allegedly made. As a result, there was vocal opposition to him being confirmed. This opposition included 6 activists from the NAACP who were arrested as part of a sit-in against his nomination, and 1,400 law professors who wrote a letter encouraging the senate to reject his nomination. Most notable was the protest of Senator Elizabeth Warren, who attempted to read a letter on the senate floor from Coretta Scott King. This letter was written to oppose his 1986 nomination as a federal judge. However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConell stopped Warren from finishing on the grounds that it was insulting the character of a fellow senator.

Confirmed On: February 9th, 2017

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke

Previous Experience: Served in the navy from 1985-2008, served as a member of the Montana senate from 2009-2011, and served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2013-2015.

Controversy: Some environmentalists were concerned about his positions on climate change, as well as other environmental issues.

Confirmed On: March 1st, 2017

Secretary of Housing and Development Ben Carson

Previous Experience: Had previously worked as a neurosurgeon and was the first doctor to be able to successfully separate conjoined twins who were joined at the head.

Controversy: Many people considered him to be unqualified for the position he was nominated for. Donald Trump countered this claim by saying he had previously lived in public housing, however, this was later proven to be false.

Confirmed On: March 2nd, 2017

Secretary of Education  Betsy DeVos

Previous Experience: Previously served as chair of the Michigan  Republican Party.

Controversy: Many opposed her nomination due to her lack of background in education. Many also had problems with her beliefs regarding school choice, believing that her plan for increasing school choice would cause public schools to be defunded. Finally, many people were concerned about her comments involving guns in schools, including one where she said that guns should be placed in schools to protect children from grizzly bears.

Confirmed On: February 7th, 2017

Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly

Previous Experience: Served in the military from 1976-2016. During his military service, he was commander of the U.S. Southern Command and as senior military assistant to the Secretary of Defense.

Confirmed On: January 20th, 2017

Energy Rick Perry

Previous Experience: Served as Governor of Texas from 2000-2015. Was also previously a member of the Texas House of Representatives and the Agriculture Commissioner of Texas.

Confirmed On: March 2nd, 2017

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