In general, I believe the POTUS should get leeway in who he wants to serve in the cabinet. Thus, I think Senators, should they have a problem with the POTUS, should think carefully over who they want to vote against. A problem I have noticed with anti-Trump efforts is there doesn’t seem to be any agreement on which appointments we should aim our fire on. Some on the far left say Tom Price, some others on the left say Betsy DeVos, people on both sides challenge Rex Tillerson, and Jeff Sessions also has many opponents. Because of this, it is very possible all are approved. Here, I try to rate the nominees to show what an ideal way to attack Trump nominees would look like at this point.
Strong Yes (8)
Tom Price (Health and Human Services)
- Typical Conservative who is actually a Doctor and is well equipped to handle to potential repeal of the ACA.
Nikki Haley (UN Ambassador)
- Represents her state and party well. She is willing to make the decisions that need to be made (ex: Taking down the Confederate flag).
Rick Perry (Energy)
- Anyone who can succeed as Governor of Texas can succeed running a branch of the Federal government.
Terry Branstad (Ambassador to China)
- He has ties to China and is well-respected over there. His presence will hopefully help manage any China-related rants and ravings from the oval office.
John Kelly (Homeland Security)
- Has a strong record of military service, and has shown a willingness to break with Trump on items such as torture and the wall.
David Shulkin (Veterans)
- He has bipartisan respect, and is already serving in the current administration.
Elaine Chao (Transportation)
- She has experience as a cabinet secretary and in the DOT.
Dan Coats (Director of National Intelligence)
- He has a long and distinguished record in the Senate, and I wouldn’t expect him to be an automatic Trump pawn.
Mick Mulvaney (Office of Management and Budget)
- I disagree with his tea party approach, but he should be fine to manage OMB.
Mike Pompeo (CIA)
- A little excessive on the scope of the surveillance state, but if Justin Amash is ok with him, he should be fine.
Ryan Zinke (Interior)
- That he got selected by being hunting buddies with the Trump sons isn’t reassuring, but a sitting US Congressman should be an adequate choice for Interior.
Linda McMahon (Small Business Administration)
- Unqualified, but Small Business Administration isn’t worth having a fuss over.
Wilbur Ross (Commerce)
- Commerce isn’t a vital department, but Ross is also supposed to be the point-man on trade for the administration.
Rex Tillerson (State)
- We need to know more about his Russia stance, but he seems like he could be better than Giuliani/Bolton anyways. I still hate the idea of big oil executives getting a ticket into cabinet roles.
Robert Lighthizer (US Trade Representative)
- His skepticism of free trade is concerning, but he should get a hearing before any judgment is made.
Betsy DeVos (Education)
- We need to know more of (a) why she is qualified beyond “she gave a lot of money to Republicans, and (b) will she take Title IX seriously? That said, I tend to agree with her on charter schools/school choice. She needs to demonstrate she is prepared to engage with and help public schools as well, though.
James Mattis (Defense)
- I agree with most of his answers in hearings so far. I don’t agree with some of his worldview on the role of the military, and I don’t like that he became a defense contractor immediately after leaving the surface.
Lean No (2)
Scott Pruitt (EPA)
- A lot of people I respect support him, but he seems to have too iffy a record on environmental issues.
Steven Mnuchin (Treasury)
- I don’t know much about him, but I oppose Goldman Sachs executives making the leap to treasury on principle.
Andrew Puzder (Labor)
- His comments on the evolving labor market and willingness to easily disperse with low-skill jobs is troubling. This is in addition to his sexist comments made as head of Hardees/Carls Jr.
David Friedman (Ambassador to Israel)
- He is a fierce ideologue who opposes a two-state solution and uses Trumpian levels of rhetoric. Being level-headed should be a pre-requisite for being sent into the most volatile region in the world, and Friedman is the opposite of that.
Ben Carson (Housing and Urban Development)
- He has no qualifications for this job, and it’s too important a position to hand to someone who has no business being in charge here.
Jeff Sessions (Attorney General)
- This is the worst nomination of all. He is anti-criminal justice reform, pro-civil forfeiture, and takes a disturbing view of racial issues. This is in addition to his major gaffe in the campaign in which he said “grab them by the p—–“ is not sexual assault. He should be voted down, and if it’s not too late, this should we the nomination anti-Trump forces all rally around to attempt a show of political power.