The President’s Men (And a Couple of Women)

Jeffery Doherty, Editor

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Trump has nominated a number of secretaries for his cabinet. His nominees have been controversial for their stances and histories in the United States, as well as their ties to foreign powers. These factors will guide the advice they will give to Donald Trump, affecting the actions he will take in US policy.

Here are eight of Trump’s nominees, whom are likely to be sworn in by the Republican controlled Congress.

-Trump nominated Rex Tillerson to the position of Secretary of State. Rex Tillerson is the CEO of ExxonMobil, the petroleum and natural gas giant. ExxonMobil has oil holdings in the US, Guyana, Liberia, and has recently purchased a section of the Black Sea to begin exploratory oil drilling. He has expressed an interest in Russia before, meeting Vladimir Putin personally. There are also three exploratory drills in Kurdistan. These expansions were done under Tillerson’s time as CEO.

ExxonMobil, and in extension Tillerson, have been taken to court over denying climate change, because when ExxonMobil had the science that proved fossil fuel burning caused climate change, the information was not released to the public or its shareholders.

Some predictions can be made about Tillerson’s advice and work as Secretary of State. His work is likely to be that of gaining alliances with oil possessing nations, and to gain closer ties to Russia’s potential oil profits. Tillerson would also have to compete with Saudi Arabia’s quest for more oil, as Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern countries are facing the fact that they may run out of money by 2020 due to a low cost of oil.

-Trump nominated Steven Terner Mnuchin to the position of Secretary of Treasury. He was the co-founder of OneWest Bank Group LLC, as stated in his Bloomberg profile. He also ran Dune Capital Management, a risk management company. It’s known that during 2008, Mnuchin profited from housing foreclosures as a member of Goldman Sachs. During his time at OneWest, his company serviced mortgages in an “…unusually aggressive…” manner, wrote Karl Taro Greenfield of Bloomberg. Mnuchin showed higher rates of foreclosed homes than the industry average.

Some predictions can be made about Mnuchin’s effect on the Treasury advice given to Trump. Trump will be advised by someone who has also been in the real estate business. Mnuchin’s best profits came during the 2008 financial crisis, so it is possible Mnuchin may engineer a new financial crisis, which would positively affect the real estate business, with more foreclosures and debt to be bought as well as sold.

-Trump nominated Wilbur Ross to the position of Secretary of Commerce. He was an investor, and known for his predatory buying of failing companies. He build this reputation by targeting failing banks in Europe during the 2011 financial crisis, Chase Peterson-Withorn wrote for Forbes Magazine. Ross was known for, “slashing jobs and pensions to turn a profit,” as Peterson-Withorn wrote.

Some predictions can be made about Ross, most stem from his history of predatory profit tactics. His job is to promote job creation and improve infrastructure in a smaller way than the Department of Transportation. It is possible this position will be used to get political favors. Ross had lawsuits from improperly disclosing fee assignment methods to the West Virginia coal mine collapse in 2006.

-Trump nominated Betsy DeVos to the position of Secretary of Education. She is a multimillionaire with her multimillionaire philanthropist husband Dick DeVos, and both were audited by the state of Michigan for improper exemptions from taxes in 2016. DeVos is known for her advocacy of charter schools, yet their success in Michigan, mainly Detroit, is extremely low. DeVos is credited as one of the reformers of the Detroit school system that defended school choice and charter schools, even though it has reaped no rewards to this day.

There are some obvious predictions to make about DeVos. She is likely to advocate for more private schools and charter schools. This is after the Obama administration has clamped down on for-profit colleges earlier this year due to shady business practices.

-Trump nominated Rick Perry to the position of Secretary of Energy. Perry was the Governor of Texas from 2000 to 2015. In a position that was held by Steven Chu, a nuclear physicist as well as Nobel Prize winner, and Ernest Moniz, another accomplished physicist, it can be understood someone who is an energy specialist, or scientist should hold the position of Secretary of Energy. Perry received Bs and Cs in college level chemistry, and physics.

Some predictions can be made about Perry’s guidance and decisions as Secretary of Energy. He has had a record of denying climate change is true, as well as having defended oil production companies from taxes, and suing the Environmental Protection Agency, because the agency wanted to set standards for cutting carbon emissions.

-Trump nominated Ben Carson to be the Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Carson was a licensed neurosurgeon and a presidential candidate before. The highest leadership role Carson is known for was his cameo on Stuck on You, the 2003 comedy series, in which he played a head surgeon. Julián Castro, under Obama, was mayor of San Antonio Texas.

It is hard to make predictions on Carson’s possible actions as secretary, since he hasn’t been on the record about his ideas on government housing.

-Trump nominated Elaine Chao to the position of Secretary of Transportation. She is the wife of Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader. She has had a long career in the cabinet, being the Secretary of Labor for George W. Bush from 2001 to 2009. There were problems with Chao’s time as Secretary of Labor. The Government Accountability Office found Chao’s administration, specifically the Wage and Hour Department, had under investigated claims of employers paying employees below the minimum wage.

This is besides the fact Chao’s family shipping company flies foreign flags in order to save money; Chao’s agency is meant to make American ships fly the American flags.

There are some predictions that can be made, one being the Department of Transportation performing poorly, as her experience and time as Secretary of Labor has shown that her management of a department leaves much to be desired. Her conflicts of interest may put her at odds with Trump’s “America First” plan.

-Trump nominated Andrew Puzder to the position of Secretary of Labor. Puzder was the CEO of CKE Restaurants, Inc, known for being the owner Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr restaurant chains. Puzder has not endorsed raising the minimum wage, and has talked about replacing workers with machines, “They’re always polite, they always upsell, they never take a vacation, they never show up late, there’s never a slip-and-fall, or an age, sex, or race discrimination case,” this is quoting the Business Insider interview with Puzder reported by Kate Taylor.
Some predictions can be made about Puzder’s actions. His stances on wages and workers is likely to influence his administration. He would have control of job training programs, worker’s compensation, and work regulation. He wouldn’t have to ask the Senate for approval, he can act independently.

These are only predictions of what these secretaries would do, based on the histories other secretaries had and the policies they followed through with. 

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