WASHINGTON, DC—For the past several weeks, whenever President Donald Trump’s (haha fuck) transition team would announce a new member of his cabinet, the nation would partake in a communal panic—about the nominee’s lack of qualifications, about their past scandals and conflicts of interest, about what the stakes are if they powerfully screw up.
But because of that, they’ve been hard to keep track of. So for future reference, here are all of those nominees in one place. Consume with several Xanax.
In the Cabinet:
Rex Tillerson, Secretary of State
Responsibilities: Arbiter of worldwide diplomacy for the United States
Estimated net worth: $150 million
Years in government: 0
Background: Tillerson began working for ExxonMobil in 1975, and was promoted to CEO in 2006. In the late 1990s, he became acquainted with Vladimir Putin while working out a deal to allow Exxon to drill for oil in Russia; their friendship (and mutual financial interest) became so tight that in 2013, Putin awarded him Russia’s Order of Friendship medal.
Chilling anecdote: Aside from all the standard chilling characteristics of an oil baron—greed, self-interest, cronyism—under Tillerson’s watch from 2008 to 2015, Exxon donated over $6.5 million to groups that deny the link between fossil fuels and climate change.
Steve Mnuchin, Secretary of the Treasury
Responsibilities: Determines financial policies; manages the national debt; acts as CFO for the government; decides tax policies that may or may not one day help hedge funds like Dune Capital
Estimated net worth: $40 million
Years in government: 0, but he did fund American Sniper which is kinda political.
Background: Steve Mnuchin is the son of a Goldman Sachs banker who became a Goldman Sachs banker himself before forming his own fund, Dune Capital. He later purchased the failing bank OneWest, making a ton of money by foreclosing on thousands of homeowners caught up in the mortgage crisis. He eventually sold the company for more than 3 billion. As a producer, he is also responsible for the Lego Movie.
Chilling anecdote: He accidentally forgot to report more than $100,000,000 in assets on his Senate Finance Committee disclosure documents.
Fun fact: Mnuchin has been friends with Trump for at least 15 years, despite the fact that Trump sued him in 2008 over a building deal.
James Mattis, Secretary of Defense
Responsibilities: Top defense policy advisor to the president, and will help shape the Trump administration’s policies on Russia, the Islamic State, and other national security threats.
Estimated net worth: Unknown
Years in government: Mattis’ military career spans 41 years, but he has not served in a civilian role.
Background: Mattis’s last post was as commander of U.S. Central Command, from which he retired in 2013 after clashing with the Obama administration over Iran policies. He’s led troops in Kuwait, Afghanistan, and Iraq, and in his most recent role oversaw the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Mattis is a defense hawk who’s made a few alarming comments, but he’s also widely respected and a bit more of a reader than his boss. Trump credits Mattis for convincing him that torture is ineffective, and he appears to be one of very few in the Trump administration to consider climate change a viable threat. Clashes between Mattis and the Trump transition team have already been reported. Since civilian control of the military is written into the Constitution and Mattis retired too recently, his confirmation hinged on a special waiver, which recently passed through Congress.
Fun fact: Mattis’s most popular nickname is “Mad Dog,” and Trump fans love it! Unclear what will happen when they find out that he’s not insane.
Jeff Sessions, Attorney General
Responsibilities: Advises the president on the laws of our country; enforces federal laws; determines which cases to prosecute; act as “the people’s lawyer”
Estimated net worth: $7 million
Years in government: 21
Background: Jeff Sessions started his career as a prosecutor, first as a U.S. Attorney and then as Attorney General of Alabama. He was elected to the Senate in 1996, where he proceeded to legislate against equal rights, and for the Iraq War. He opposed the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and supported a measure to make same-sex marriage illegal. He’s also spoken out against climate change.
Chilling Anecdote: Sessions was once declared too racist to be a federal judge, based in part on a voting rights case he pursued against black activists. Sessions has said he would prosecute that case again, given the opportunity. During his confirmation hearing, he was forced to denounce the KKK, a group he’d already allegedly denounced—not because of their politics, but because he heard they smoked weed.
Fun facts: He was named “amnesty’s worst enemy” by the National Review.
Ryan Zinke, Secretary of the Interior
Responsibilities: Oversees the management and conservation of federal land and resources, overseeing departments including the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the National Park Service, and the U.S. Geological Survey. The Interior Secretary under Trump will probably be tasked with extracting natural resources from public lands, particularly those Obama has attempted to protect.
Estimated net worth: $675,000
Years in government: 8
Background: Zinke is a Republican congressman from Montana who previously served as a Navy SEAL. A hunter and fisherman with a bachelor’s degree in geology, he’s a staunch supporter of public access to federal lands, but also once voted to return federal land to the states, which is confusing. He sometimes breaks rank to vote with environmentalists, but seems to be a big fan of the oil and gas industry, which is also confusing; he recently backed the Keystone XL Pipeline. Zinke believes in climate change, but also doesn’t.
Chilling anecdote: It could be worse.
Fun facts: Donald Trump, Jr., another avid hunter who is supposed to be running his dad’s company, reportedly played a big role in Zinke’s nomination.
Sonny Perdue, Agriculture Secretary
Responsibilities: The Department of Agriculture oversees the American farming industry, responsible for food safety, improving public nutrition, protecting natural resources, and meeting the needs of farmers and ranchers. Oh, and also the food stamp program, which will likely not stick around in its current form for much longer.
Estimated net worth: Current net worth not available; in 2006 it was about $6 million.
Years in government: 18
Background: Perdue, a conservative Republican, worked as a veterinarian and then ran a grain and fertilizer business; he later served as state senator in Georgia and as governor of Georgia from 2003-2011. One of his campaign promises included a referendum to reestablish the Confederate flag design on the state flag. Like Trump, Perdue did not put his assets in a blind trust as governor, and benefited from a tax break that he signed into law. “It’s certainly hard to imagine that a former fertilizer salesman will tackle the unregulated farm pollution that poisons our drinking water, turns Lake Erie green, and fouls the Chesapeake Bay and the Gulf of Mexico,” the Environmental Working Group said in a statement.
Chilling anecdote: 10 years ago, when Georgia was in the middle of a historic drought, then-Gov. Perdue led a prayer service on the statehouse steps. “God, we need you,” Perdue said. “We need rain.” (It didn’t rain.)
Wilbur Ross, Commerce Secretary
Responsibilities: Besides overseeing the Trump administration’s plan to “upend” the U.S. trade policy—the least-terrifying way to phrase that—Ross will also head the Commerce Department’s weirdly broad set of responsibilities, which include departments that monitor the weather, the nation’s fisheries, and oversee patents and trademarks.
Estimated net worth: $2.5 billion
Years in government: 0
Background: Ross is an investor and former banker, who specializes in buying “distressed assets” and flipping them for profit. Like Trump, he hates trade agreements a lot. He also donated generously to Trump’s campaign, and so here we are.
Chilling anecdote: Ross has a close business relationship with Viktor Vekselberg, a Putin ally and one of the richest men in Russia. Ross serves on the board of Bank of Cyprus, where Vekselberg is a shareholder. (Ross appears to be cutting his ties to Bank of Cyprus, according to Bloomberg.)
Fun facts: Ross’s confirmation hearing was delayed because he hasn’t finished his ethics paperwork.
Andrew Puzder, Secretary of Labor
Responsibilities: As Secretary of Labor, Puzder will be in charge of protecting workers and enforcing labor laws.
Estimated net worth: It’s unclear exactly what Puzder is worth but his annual salary ranges from $7 to $10 million and he owns a sizable percentage of a company valued at $25.6 million. He’s worth a lot of money.
Years in government: A few months. Prior to becoming the CEO of Hardee’s Puzder spent a few months heading Missouri’s Task Force for Unborn Mothers and Unborn Children under then governor John Ashcroft.
Background: In the late 1990s, Puzder became the Executive Vice President of CKE, a restaurant company that eventually bought Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. Puzder was named president of Hardee’s in 2000. Puzder is credited with turning Hardee’s, then a failing company, around with his memorable marketing strategy—namely, hot chicks eating burgers in bikinis. In 2013, he described Hardee’s as a “young, hungry guy brand” adding that the strategy worked on men of all ages. “I’m 62. I want to be a young, hungry guy,” Puzder told the Wall Street Journal. Though Puzder might have been successful at bringing hungry bros to Hardee’s, his workers say that as CEO, he engaged in widespread labor violations. He’s been critical of California labor laws, including mandatory breaks and paid out a multi-million dollar lawsuit after the company routinely broke that law. Puzder also opposes raising the minimum wage.
Chilling anecdote: Before leaving for the greasy pastures of Hardee’s, Puzder was one a leading anti-abortion lawyer. He authored many Missouri laws on the topic, including one that prohibited the use of state funds for the procedure, the first of its kind. The law was appealed to the Supreme Court. In the resulting case, Webster v. Reproductive State Health Services, SCOTUS ruled that states were allowed to place restrictions on abortion. Then there are, of course, the numerous allegations of domestic violence made by his ex-wife which she has since retracted.
Tom Price, Secretary of Health and Human Services
Responsibilities: The HHS secretary is the country’s top health official, and would be responsible for implementing federal health policy, including the potential repeal of the Affordable Care Act
Estimated net worth: An estimated $13.6 million as of 2014
Years in government: He has served a total of 10 terms thus far.
Background: Price, a trained orthopaedic surgeon, has had a long career in the Tea Party, first serving four terms in the Georgia State Senate. He was elected to the House of Representatives for Georgia’s 6th district in November 2004, where he has served ever since, most recently serving as chair of the House Budget Committee.
Price is one of the leading advocates for dismantling the ACA. He also supports significantly altering Medicaid and Medicare, such that they would no longer be entitlements, but instead block grants to states. His plan has also suggested making “able-bodied” applicants meet work requirements before receiving benefits, according to the Washington Post.
He notably owned stock in several health companies including Aetna, drug makers Pfizer Inc and Eli Lilly and Co., and Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., while co-sponsoring 35 health bills in the House—an oddly blatant potential conflict of interest that Sen. Elizabeth Warren said raised questions about his judgement.
Fun facts: In Congress, Price opposed a law that would protect women from employment discrimination based on their use of birth control or getting an abortion, and sponsored a bill that would define life as beginning at conception.
Ben Carson, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
Responsibilities: Implement and oversee laws relating to all aspects of housing, including mortgage markets, homelessness issues and public housing.
Estimated net worth: $10 million
Years in government: 0, though he did run for President of the United States
Background: Carson, who often cites his upbringing in a single parent, working-poor home, began practicing neurosurgery in 1983, and became famous after separating conjoined twins in 1987. He launched his campaign for President in 2015, but bowed out after Super Tuesday 2016 after a disappointing showing. He has also been the author or co-author of ten books, including several self-help tomes and an autobiography entitled Gifted Hands.
Chilling anecdote: Though he and his family was the recipient of public assistance growing up, including food stamps, but employs a myopic “bootstraps” mentality; in his confirmation hearings, he said he supported public assistance to a point, though did not rightly clarify beyond that.
Fun fact: Lied about stabbing someone. Maybe lied about hitting his mother. Also, was once portrayed on the silver screen by Cuba Gooding Jr.
Elaine Chao, Transportation Secretary
Responsibilities: The Secretary of Transportation oversees national transportation systems, and will play a key role in the Trump administration’s loudly heralded infrastructure plan.
Estimated net worth: $16.9 million
Years in government: 14
Background: Chao was Deputy Secretary of Transportation under George H.W. Bush, and directed the Peace Corps from 1991-92. She served as Secretary of Labor under George W. Bush, serving both terms. The Government Accountability Office found that the Labor Dept. under Chao had left workers “vulnerable to wage theft.” She sits on the board of directors at Wells Fargo, and although expected to resign from all board positions if confirmed, she’ll continue to receive substantial stock payouts from Wells Fargo through 2021.
Chilling anecdote: Chao’s husband is Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who will not recuse himself from voting on her nomination. “I will be working to lock in the majority leader’s support tonight over dinner,” Chao joked at her very chummy confirmation hearing.
Rick Perry, Energy Secretary
Responsibilities: Overseeing our nuclear arsenal
Estimated net worth: $2 million
Years in government: 19
Background: Rick Perry governed the great state of Texas for 15 years, and ran unsuccessfully for president in 2012 and 2016. He is in favor of smaller government, a 20 percent flat tax, and job creation. A former boy scout, he enthusiastically encouraged the troops’ ban on homosexual members, and used to hunt with his dad at a deer lease called “Niggerhead.”
Chilling anecdote: Our current Dept. of Energy head, Ernest Moniz, is a nuclear physicist and former MIT professor. His nuclear expertise allowed the United States to negotiate with Iran on a scientific level, which helped save the day on the Iranian deal. And Rick Perry’s qualifications? He wanted to be a vet but was advised to study animal sciences instead because his grades were so bad—he failed organic chemistry and ultimately attained a D in a class called “meats” at Texas A&M.
Fun facts: Perry once forgot mid-debate the name of the federal department he wanted to eliminate. It was the Department of Energy.
Betsy DeVos, Education Secretary
Responsibilities: The Education Secretary is responsible for overseeing all Education-related federal policies and programs, including federal loans, Pell grants, and Title IX enforcement.
Estimated net worth: Her father-in-law is worth $5.1 billion, and is the 88th richest man in the country.
Years in government: She has served as chairwoman of the Michigan Republican Party, and supported a failed 2000 state bill to allow students to use vouchers to attend nonpublic schools.
Background: DeVos is the chairman of the Windquest Group, an investment company, and also serves as chair of the board of the American Federation for Children, which works to empower parents to “choose the education they determine is best for their children,” and has been accused of inaccurately disclosing the amount of money donated to electing Republicans in Michigan.
She is a fervent advocate for charter schools and vouchers—a stance which many view as anti-public education. (The head of one of the largest teachers unions called her the “most ideological, anti-public education nominee” since the start of the Department of Education.)
DeVos is also a philanthropist, and has donated thousands of dollars to a variety of questionable organizations—including one actively working to overturn an Obama Administration policy that would make it easier to discipline students accused of sexual harassment and assault.
Fun facts: In her confirmation hearing, DeVos suggested she wasn’t sure if she thought schools should continue to have the same strict standards regarding sexual violence investigations, and argued that guns might be needed in schools to fend off grizzly bears.
David Shulkin, Secretary of Veterans Affairs
Responsibilities: Overseeing the massive Veterans Affairs department, which both adminsters veterans’ benefits and runs medical facilities for vets.
Estimated net worth: Not public
Years in government: A little less than two
Background: Shulkin is a doctor who was appointed as the undersecretary of veterans affairs for health by President Obama. He’s the only Obama holdover among the Trump appointees, and won praise from groups like the VFW, who seem relieved that someone has been appointed who knows what the hell he’s doing.
Fun fact: Now we have to wait to see if Shulkin agrees with Trump’s proposal to privatize the VA, which would probably be an enormous disaster. That’s not really a “fun” fact is it? Well, none of this is fun and that’s just not our fault.
Marine General John F. Kelly, Secretary of Homeland Security
Responsibilities: As Secretary of Homeland Security, Kelly would be charged with overseeing the third largest Cabinet department. A sprawling and often messy department, Homeland Security oversees everything from enforcing immigration laws to fighting terrorism and protecting the president. Under this administration, Kelly would likely be responsible for implementing Donald Trump’s controversial proposals on illegal immigration.
Estimated net worth: $4 million
Years in government: Kelly has spent his entire adult life in the Marine Corps. His service includes the Gulf War, the Iraq War, and a stint as the military assistant in Leon Panetta’s Department of Defense.
Background: A retired four-star Marine general, Kelly rose through the ranks and, most recently, ran the United States Southern Command. While there, he oversaw operations across South and Central America and the Caribbean, including oversight of Guantánamo Bay. Kelly has a history of breaking with the Obama administration on issues like Guantánamo Bay, women in the military, and immigration.
As the head of Southern Command, he sought funds to renovate the military prison as President Obama was seeking to close the facility and questioned whether or not combat positions should be open to women. Kelly has also melodramatically sounded the alarm on illegal immigration, warning the Senate Armed Services Committee that “terrorist organizations” could exploit “smuggling routes to move operatives with intent to cause grave harm to our citizens or even bring weapons of mass destruction into the United States.” Despite this, there’s a general consensus that Kelly is a good choice for the job, his nomination was endorsed by Panetta.
Fun Fact: When asked about the capability of the Iraqi Army, Kelly told reporters that “Baghdad ain’t shit.” Not fun, but worth noting: Kelly has the sad distinction of being the highest-ranking officer to lose a child in either Iraq or Afghanistan. In 2010, his son, Lt. Robert Kelly, was killed in Afghanistan when he stepped on a landmine.
Robert Lighthizer, U.S. Trade Representative
Responsibilities: The trade rep is the country’s chief trade negotiator and a top advisor to the president on trade issues.
Estimated net worth: Not public
Years in government: Unclear how many consecutive years he served, but Lighthizer was the chief of staff of the United States Senate Committee on Finance and then a deputy United States trade representative during the Reagan administration.
Background: The most eye-glazing Trump nominee, Lighthizer is a lawyer and establishment Republican whose main draw for Trump seems to be his hostility towards China. He’s widely believed to be very knowledgeable on trade issues, putting him light years ahead of most Trump nominees.
Fun fact: Politico reports that Lighthizer has a potty mouth, according to one trade lawyer who’s worked with him: “His personal style is that, in meetings, he uses filthy humor and vulgar language to throw people off their stride, which can be side-splittingly funny and very effective.” Another thing he has in common with Trump, minus the “funny,” “effective,” or “humor” parts!
Linda McMahon, Small Business Secretary
Responsibilities: True to its name, the SBA supports enterpreneurs and small businesses, and McMahon will be responsible primarily for overseeing the loan and entrepreneurial development programs run by the SBA.
Estimated net worth: $500 million
Years in government: 1-ish, serving on the Connecticut Board of Education, plus two failed Senate runs in 2010 and 2012.
Background: McMahon is the former CEO of the WWE, married to Vince McMahon, the current CEO of the WWE. Everyone and everything in McMahon’s life is connected to pro-wrestling (both of her kids married wrestling stars), which is why it was maybe a tad surprising when she was appointed to the Board of Education, then launched those two unsuccessful Senate bids.
Chilling Anecdote: McMahon has also become a major, although rather secretive Republican donor, giving $5 million to the Trump Foundation and giving $200,000 to a PAC that ran anti-Bernie Sanders ads.
Fun facts: Several complicated WWE storylines involve the McMahons fighting, physically, with fists and chairs and stuff.
Mick Mulvaney, Director of the Office of Management and Budget
Responsibilities: Helps President implement his plans within the budget
Estimated net worth: Over $3 million (in 2013)
Years in government: 10
Background: A former lawyer, this Tea Party Republican was elected to South Carolina Senate in 2006. After serving two terms there, he was elected to U.S. House of Representatives in 2010, though the latter campaign was accused of violating campaign finance laws. After his nomination to Trump’s Cabinet, the Ethics Committee found that he did not pay over $15,000 in taxes on a nanny he employed from 2000-2004.
Chilling anecdote: Mulvaney was a founding member of the House Freedom Caucus, created in 2009, which represents some of the most far-right ideologies in the Republican party. They’re a leading voting bloc for defunding Planned Parenthood.
Scott Pruitt, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency
Responsibilities: The EPA is responsible for setting and enforcing standards and regulations to protect human health and the environment. But under the Trump administration, who knows?
Estimated net worth: Unknown
Years in government: 14
Background: Pruitt was a Republican Oklahoma state senator and is currently the Oklahoma attorney general, where he and other Republican AG’s have formed a secretive alliance with fossil fuel producers to push back against Obama-era EPA regulations. Devon Energy has literally drafted letters that Pruitt then sent to the EPA under his own name. He has sued the EPA 13 times, and won’t commit to recusing himself from handling those lawsuits as EPA administrator. Hs is skeptical about the completely settled science behind climate change, and when asked at his confirmation hearing if there’s any safe level of lead that can be absorbed by the human body (no), he said he had “not looked at the research.”
Fun Fact: 2016 was the hottest year on record.
Executive Office of the President:
Reince Priebus, White House Chief of Staff
Responsibilities: Chiefs of staff oversee the White House staff (hence the name) and sets White House strategy, as well as controlling access to the president by overseeing their schedule and meetings.
Estimated net worth: Not public
Years in government: 9
Background: Priebus is the career politician of the bunch, so to speak: He was elected chairman of the Wisconsin Republican Party in 2007, then elected chair of the Republican National Committee in 2011. As Chief of Staff, he’ll play Establishment Republican to everybody else in the Trump’s administration Person Shouting At You About the Illuminati While Wearing a Colander.
Chilling anecdote: Despite being a more, uh, normal person than several Trump picks, Priebus is still a diehard Trump loyalist. He defended him in the midst of Pussygate, although he did note that he didn’t “condone” those remarks. He defended the appointment of Steve Bannon. And now he’s merrily joining in vaguely threatening the head of the Office of Government Ethics, warning him to “be careful” about criticizing our new Cheeto King.
Fun facts: The words “fun” and Reince Priebus do not appear in the same sentence even when we’re being extremely sarcastic.
Stephen Bannon, Chief Strategist
Responsibilities: Usually the chief strategist offers advice on domestic and foreign policy issues, but there’s no telling exactly how it’ll function in this administration. As the Wall Street Journal noted, Bannon is expected to have virtually equal power to the chief of staff.
Estimated net worth: No reliable public estimates, but he’s believed to be a millionaire.
Years in government: 0
Background: Bannon is best known as the former executive chairman of Breitbart News, although, as an excellent 2015 Bloomberg profile laid out, that was just the latest chapter in a career that took him from the Navy to investment banking to conservative filmmaking (he made The Undefeated, a very bad movie about Sarah Palin). And now, in an unlikely twist, he’s gone from what was a fringe conservative news outlet to being one of Donald Trump’s closest advisers.
Chilling anecdote: Where do we start? Bannon was previously accused of both domestic violence and making anti-Semitic comments by his ex-wife, allegations he denies. He also denies being a racist or a white supremacist; it is indisputable, however, that Neo Nazis and white supremacists were very happy when he got the job.
Fun facts: In a fairly ironic twist, Bannon earns royalties from Seinfeld, having purchased a share of them in 1993. Uh, also, Jezebel has attended a couple of Breitbart parties at the Conservative Political Action Conference, hosted by Bannon. They are populated by the same people who dot our nightmares.
Kellyanne Conway, Counselor to the President
Responsibilities: Conway, who served as Trump’s campaign manager and became famous for her nonsensical, postmodernist word salads, will continue to both advise Trump and craft the messaging of his administration’s legislative agenda. If that sounds a little vague, that’s because it is. In December, Conway told CNN’s New Day that the “portfolio will be whatever the President wants it to be,” and will include “data and strategy” in addition to communications.
Estimated net worth: Not public, but her polling company took in around $1.9 million during the 2016 campaign, per Politico.
Years in government: 0
Background: Conway started her own polling company—uncreatively called “The Polling Company”—in 1995, which focused on female consumers. She soon became a leading voice among Republican commentators, and through the firm worked with conservative politicians like former House Speaker Newt Gingrich to help with voter outreach to women. She worked for Sen. Ted Cruz during the 2016 campaign before dumping him for Trump, and has been loyally defending Trump from criticism since then. Trump tapped Conway as campaign manager in August.
Chilling anecdote: During a 2013 roundtable discussion about lifting the ban on women in the military, Conway said, “If we were physiologically as strong as men, rape would not exist. You would be able to defend yourself and fight him off.” And now I shudder to imagine what Conway’s solution to ending sexual assault might be...
Fun facts: Not sure how “fun” this fact is, but Conway made history as the first woman to run a winning presidential campaign, and will now serve as the highest ranking woman in Trump’s administration.
Jared Kushner, Senior Advisor
Responsibilities: As a top White House advisor, Kushner will be part of Trump’s inner circle and among the first to counsel him on pretty much anything. Kushner’s first priorities reportedly include rewriting international trade policy and a controversial plan to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to the holy city of Jerusalem. Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, was handed the position after a lawyer advised the campaign that Kushner’s appointment would not violate federal anti-nepotism laws.
Estimated net worth: Kushner’s net worth is not public, but Forbes estimates that his family—his parents and his brother Josh—are worth at least $1.8 billion.
Years in government: 0
Background: Kusher is a essentially a Rich kid of Instagram who came of age pre-Internet. He was an average student who curiously got into Harvard after daddy Charles Kushner, a rich real estate developer in New York, donated $2.5 million to the Ivy League school. He stayed in the family business, real estate development. Kushner’s main qualification as one of Trump’s closest confidantes seems to be the fact that he is married to Ivanka Trump. He became Trump’s right hand man during the transition process and, though he had no official role in the campaign, certainly had Trump’s ear.
Chilling anecdote: After Trump published and deleted an anti-semitic tweet attacking Hillary Clinton, Kushner defended Trump against concerns brought by Jewish writer Dana Schwartz at the Observer. (Trump’s campaign later also an published anti-semitic ad, and regularly retweeted white supremacists). Kushner, who owned The Observer before selling his shares and stepping down as publisher for his new job, is an Orthodox Jew whose grandfather was a Holocaust survivor. Kushner invoked his grandfather’s history in his response to Shwartz, which was an unconvincing combination of “Trump’s not racist—trust me on this guys,” and “haters gonna hate.” His cousin Marc Kushner criticized the op-ed, writing in a Facebook post that he had a “different takeaway” from his family’s history, and wrote: “It is our responsibility as the next generation to speak up against hate. Antisemitism or otherwise.”
Fun facts: New Yorker writer and fellow Harvard classmate Lizzie Widdicombe recalls that Kushner wore “dress shirts and jeans from the then trendy label 7 for All Mankind” and drove a Range Rover. According to one classmate Widdicombe interviewed, Kushner didn’t have a sense of humor about it. “He did it, like, ‘I’m fucking rich.’”
Michael Flynn, National Security Advisor
Responsibilities: The National Security Advisor advises the President on national security issues (duh), and attends meetings with the Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense. They don’t have authority over the defense budget, but have the potential to hugely sway the President on national security issues, which, in this instance, is alarming.
Estimated net worth: Not public
Years in government: Two, as Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency
Background: Flynn served in the U.S. Army from 1981 to 2014, but was forced into early retirement a year early as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency amid amid accusations from his critics that his management style was “chaotic” and his time there “turbulent,” as the Washington Post put it. Oh also he was fixedly and delusionally obsessed with Islamic terrorism, warning that Sharia law was creeping its way across the U.S. and making up so many “dubious assertions,” as the New York Times explained, that people at the DIA started calling them “Flynn facts.”
Chilling anecdote: Flynn loves tweeting links to news stories ranging from kind of fake to extremely fake, like ones claiming that President Obama is a “jihadi” and that Hillary Clinton has engaged in the sex trafficking of children.
Fun facts: That kind of thing runs in the family. As you might recall, Michael Flynn Jr. is also a big fan of the conspiracy theories, and was fired from a job with the Trump transition team after promoting and tweeting about and insisting that Pizzagate is real. You know: the conspiracy that claimed Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta runs a child sex trafficking ring out of a pizza place. The one that led directly to a man busting into that pizza place and firing shots.
Dan Coats, Director of National Intelligence
Responsibilities: The position, created in 2004, is supposed to help prevent terrorist attacks like 9/11 by coordinating between all of the country’s intelligence agencies. The DNI also advises the president and is in charge of the president’s daily briefing, which hasn’t gone so well thus far.
Estimated net worth: Approximately $4.7 million
Years in government: 27
Background: Coats, a former Republican senator from Indiana, served in the army in the 60’s, the House of Representatives in the ’80s, the Senate in the ’90s, as ambassador to Germany under Bush II, and the Senate again from 2010-2016. Coats is seen as a hawk on Russian issues—he was banned from Russia in 2014—and has warm bipartisan support.
Chilling anecdote: Coats’ nomination was announced a few days after reports surfaced that the Trump team was seeking to overhaul the office of the DNI, potentially even leaving the post empty; Trump’s spokesman denied this.
Fun fact: According to the New York Times, Coats enjoys visiting farm-to-table restaurants.
Mike Pompeo, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency
Responsibilities: As head of the CIA, Pompeo will oversee intelligence gathering and provide President Trump with intelligent assessments, even those he might find “politically unappealing.”
Estimated net worth: The poorest member of Trump’s Cabinet, Pompeo is valued at just over $267k.
Years in government: 6
Background: A former Army officer who graduated from West Point, Pompeo was elected to the House of Representatives from Kansas’s fourth district during the Tea Party surge in 2010. He’s a standard Tea Party Republican: he opposes abortion, has the endorsement of the National Rifle Association, supports the repeal of Obamacare, and picked up a sizable check from Koch Brothers during his 2010 election. On issues more pertinent to his new job, Pompeo also remains a conservative Republican. He’s a proponent of the NSA’s surveillance program and has advocated for its expansion. During his hearing, Pompeo remained politic on Russia, an issue that’s increasingly the source of tension between the CIA and the President Elect. As a member of Congress, Pompeo criticized a 2014 Senate report that found widespread abuses in the CIA’s handling of the so-called war on terror, including findings that the CIA was engaged in torture. “These men and women [of the CIA] are not torturers, they are patriots. The programs being used were within the law [and] within the Constitution,” he said at the time. It’s unclear whether or not he would bring back waterboarding or other forms of torture as Trump advocated on the campaign trail.
Fun fact: Pompeo’s greatest claim to fame is yelling “Benghazi” at Hillary Clinton. Even after the House Select Committee found no wrongdoing, Pompeo loudly insisted that there was a “cover-up.”
Gov. Nikki Haley, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations
Responsibilities: Represents the USA in the broadest coalition of nations in existence, and ideally works for global justice and harmony within that.
Estimated net worth: $1.6 million
Years in government: 12
Background: Haley, a businessperson who served on the Orangeberg County Chamber of Commerce, was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives in 2004, becoming the first Sikh Indian ever to serve in the state government. In 2010, she became South Carolina’s first woman governor.
Chilling anecdote: Her foreign policy experience seems to be limited to family vacations!