Presidential Transition Update

November 14, 2016

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President-elect Trump’s key challenges in the next 10 weeks will be assembling his high-level cabinet, amassing his policy agenda for his first 100 days, and ensuring a smooth transition with existing Obama administration agency personnel via the deployment of agency review teams. Simultaneously, the incoming Trump administration will need to identify, vet and choose candidates for approximately 4,100 presidential appointment positions.

On the transition team, department heads have already submitted a roster of three names for cabinet positions, reflecting President-elect Trump’s public statements about whom he would like to see in his administration. Sources caution that these potential appointees are not unchangeable.

President Obama and President-elect Trump met at the White House on Nov. 10 to discuss the transition. President Obama said he was encouraged by his conversation with President-elect Trump, and called their meeting “excellent” and wide-ranging. President Obama said, “We talked about some [of the] organizational issues in setting up the White House. We talked about foreign policy. We talked about domestic policy. As I said last night, my number one in the next two months is to try to facilitate a transition that ensures our president-elect is successful.” For his part, President-elect Trump said he very much looks forward to dealing with Obama in the future, calling it a “great honor.”

Transition Team Announcements

Roughly 80 people have been working full-time on a Trump transition, a significantly smaller team than former presidential candidate Mitt Romney in 2012. The Trump campaign has, however, been routinely consulting numerous policy experts, including individuals who have served in previous Republican administrations.

On Friday afternoon, it was announced that Vice President-elect Mike Pence would be elevated to chairman of the presidential transition team, replacing New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who will now serve as a vice chairman. Dr. Ben Carson; New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie; former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich; Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, USA (Ret.); former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani; and U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions will join the team’s Executive Committee as vice chairs.

The Presidential Transition Team Executive Committee was also announced on Nov. 11 and includes several congressional supporters and campaign advisors, including: Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA); Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN); Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi; Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY); Jared Kushner; Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA); Rebekah Mercer; Steven Mnuchin; Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA); Anthony Scaramucci; Peter Thiel; Donald Trump Jr.; Eric Trump; Ivanka Trump; Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus; and Trump campaign CEO Stephen K. Bannon.

On Nov. 9, an internal transition team organization chart was leaked to the press delineating names and structure for the agency action teams.

Rumored Personnel Appointments

On Sunday evening, President-elect Donald J. Trump announced that Trump for President CEO Stephen Bannon will serve as chief strategist and senior counselor to the president, and Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus will serve as White House chief of staff.

Other rumored personnel appointments include the following:

Secretary of State

  • Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House of Representatives
  • Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), current chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
  • John Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations during George W. Bush administration

Secretary of Interior

  • Forrest Lucas,  co-founder of Lucas Oil
  • Robert Grady, venture capitalist, former George H.W. Bush White House official
  • Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin
  • Donald Trump Jr., son
  • Sarah Palin, former governor (R-AK)

Secretary of the Treasury

  • Steven Mnuchin, chairman of Dune Capital Management, former Goldman Sachs executive and campaign donor
  • Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), House Financial Services Committee chairman

Secretary of Defense

  • Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL)
  • Stephen Hadley, former national security advisor during President George W. Bush administration
  • Jim Talent, former senator (R-MO)
  • Retired Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn, former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, pending Congressional waiver
  • Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA), an early Trump endorser

White House Press Secretary

  • Kellyanne Conway, Trump campaign manager
  • Hope Hicks, campaign press secretary

National Security Advisor

  • Retired Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn, former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency

Secretary of Agriculture

  • Sid Miller, Texas secretary of Agriculture
  • Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback
  • Dave Heineman, former governor of Nebraska
  • Sonny Perdue, former governor of Georgia
  • Rick Perry, former governor of Texas
  • Charles Herbster, Republican donor and agribusiness leader
  • Mike McCloskey, Indiana dairy executive
  • Bruce Rastetter, Iowa Republican donor
  • Kip Tom, farmer and defeated candidate for Congress (R-IN-3)
  • Chuck Connor, president and CEO of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives
  • Don Villwock, president of the Indiana Farm Bureau
  • Ted McKinney, director of Indiana Department of Agriculture

Secretary of Commerce

  • Wilbur Ross, Trump economic adviser
  • Dan DiMicco, former CEO of Nucor Corp and Trump trade adviser
  • Rick Perry, former Texas governor
  • Mike Huckabee, former Arkansas governor

Secretary of Labor

  • Victoria Lipnic, commissioner of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and former assistant secretary of labor for employment standards during the George W. Bush administration

Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services

  • Gov. Rick Scott (R-FL)
  • Newt Gingrich, former speaker of the House of Representatives
  • Ben Carson, retired neurosurgeon and former candidate for president
  • Gov. Bobby Jindal (R- LA)

Secretary of Energy

  • Harold Hamm, CEO of Continental Resources and longtime Trump ally
  • Robert Grady, venture capitalist, former George H.W. Bush White House official

Secretary of Education*

  • Ben Carson, retired neurosurgeon and former candidate for president
  • William Evers, research fellow at Hoover Institution and former senior advisor to Bush Education Secretary Margaret Spellings

*Trump has made it clear that the Department of Education would play a reduced role in his administration, if it exists at all. He has stated he may try to eliminate the department altogether.

Secretary of Veterans Affairs

  • Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL), chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, retiring from Congress in 2016

Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency

  • Myron Ebell, official at Competitive Enterprise Institute, currently running the EPA working group on Trump’s transition
  • Robert Grady, venture capitalist, former George H.W. Bush White House official
  • Joe Aiello, director of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s Division on Environmental Safety and Quality Assurance
  • Carol Comer, commissioner of the Indiana Department of Environmental Management
  • Leslie Rutledge, attorney general of Arkansas

Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security

  • David Clark, conservative sheriff of Milwaukee County, Wis.
  • Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), House Homeland Security Committee Chairman
  • Former Rep. Mike Rogers, and current CNN contributor

Attorney General

  • Rudy Giuliani, former New York City mayor
  • Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi

Director of the Office of Management and Budget

  • Kay Coles James, former director of the Office of Management and Budget during George W. Bush administration
  • Linda Springer, former director of the Office of Management and Budget during George W. Bush administration
  • Robert Grady, venture capitalist, former George H.W. Bush White House official
  • Eric Ueland, staff director of the Senate Budget Committee

Policy Proposals

The Trump transition team has not produced the lengthy policy plans and suggested legislation developed by other candidates, including former Republican nominee Mitt Romney four years ago. His team has released mostly two-page and 20-page memos on specific items about the role of certain agencies and what policy areas will be a priority on the first day, the first 100 days and the first 200 days.

On Nov. 9, President-elect Trump released a plan for his first 100 days in office. The plan outlines three main areas of focus: cleaning up Washington, which includes implementing term limits on Congress; protecting American workers; and restoring rule of law. He also released his plan for working with the Republican Congress to introduce 10 pieces of legislation that would repeal the Affordable Care Act, finance the construction of a wall at the southern border (with a provision that Mexico would reimburse the U.S.), boost infrastructure investment, re-establish military bases, promote school choice, and more.