Only a month into office, and there has been no shortage of controversy surrounding the Trump administration. Of the most important topics, however, is the standing of Trump's cabinet picks. Andrew Puzder's resignation yesterday marks the second in just three days after Mychael Flynn stepped down following allegations of illegal talks with Russian officials.
Rex Tillerson has now been confirmed by a House vote (56-43) as Secretary of State. Tillerson has no prior government experience, but Trump likes him for his, "vast experience at dealing successfully with all types of foreign governments." Just what is that experience? Tillerson spent the last decade working as Exxon Mobile's CEO.
Not only does his prior position with Exxon Mobile represent a potential conflict of interest, it also raises some serious questions about ties to Russia. He was even awarded the "Order of Friendship" award by Russian President, Vladimir Putin, in 2013. Despite this, Democrats failed to rally enough support to stop the Republican majority, and Rex Tillerson has been confirmed as Secretary of State.
Steven Mnuchin is, much like Tillerson, a successful business executive. Before serving as Trump's campaign finance chairman, Mnuchin was a senior executive at Goldman Sachs - which has repeatedly come under fire for its role in the 2008 stock market crash. Mnuchin was confirmed by a House vote (53-47) on February 13th, despite Democrats best attempts to stop him.
Another to receive criticism was Attorney General #Jeff Sessions, who's confirmation hearing was assaulted by angry protesters. The controversy stems from his criticism of immigration and allegations of past "'racist' remarks." Sessions served as a Republican Senator for Alabama for 20 years before joining the Trump Administration.
Democrats fell just short rallying enough support to block his nomination, and Jeff Sessions was confirmed 52-47 on February 8th.
As an opponent of Obamacare, #tom price faced immediate resistance from Democrats. Known as being very conservative, Price served six terms as a Republican Representative for Georgia. Before moving into politics, Price was an Orthopedist for 20 years, giving him experience in both government and health care.
Tom price was confirmed Secretary of Health and Human Services by a 52-47 vote on February 10th.
Perhaps one of the most discussed cabinet picks, #Betsy DeVos, Trump's pick for Secretary of Education has faced resistance based on both her policy and her background. DeVos background includes being an heiress to a billionaire fortune, being a staunch Christian, and being an opponent to public schools.
Following in the growing trend, Democrats were unable to gain enough support from Republicans, and lost by just one vote. On February 7th, Betsy DeVos was confirmed as Secretary of Education.
Others with little resistance
Among those who faced little to no resistance from Democrats were: Secretary of Defense, General James Mattis (98-1); Secretary of Homeland Security, Ret. General John Kelly (88-11); Secretary of Transportation, Elaine Chao (93-6); and Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Dr. David Shulkin.
Four-star General James Mattis has over 44 years served in the military, including three leading US Central Command. Like Mattis, Ret. General John Kelly has over 40 years in the military, with three in Command. Elaine Chao served as Labor Secretary under the George W. Bush administration for two full terms.
Yet to be confirmed
While we do not yet know who Trump will choose to replace Andrew Puzder as Secretary of Labor-designate, there are still some nominees who have yet to be confirmed, including: Dr. Ben Carson, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development-designate; Former Texas Governor Rick Perry, Secretary of Energy-designate; Representative Ryan Zinke, Secretary of Interior-designate; Wilbur Ross, Secretary of Commerce-designate; and Sonny Perdue, Secretary of Agriculture-designate.