Posted: 11:07 pm Tuesday, December 13th, 2016
By Jamie Dupree
With the announcement Tuesday of his selection for a Secretary of State, and leaks about his choices to lead the Energy and Interior departments, President-Elect Donald Trump is not far away from being able to wrap up the major decisions for his Cabinet, though many more lower level agency jobs will still need to be dealt with by his transition team.
At this point, there are only a few slots left to be filled in the Trump Cabinet: Veterans Affairs and Agriculture are the two unknowns, while we also await a formal announcements on the Interior post.
Mr. Trump on Wednesday morning officially named former Texas Gov. Rick Perry to head the Energy Department – Perry has advocated getting rid of that agency in the past.
Interior is reportedly going to be led by Rep. Ryan Zinke, a Republican Congressman from Montana.
On the pick for VA chief, some groups have been urging Trump to keep Secretary Bob McDonald – but its unclear how that might be received, especially in Congress, where the VA leadership has been lampooned repeatedly by both parties.
@MELANIATRUMP Mrs. Trump. Please know that veterans need someone other than Bob McDonald as Secretary of the VA. We need someone who cares.
— Sean Chapman (@sean11122010) December 14, 2016
One reminder of the complexity of taking over as President – it’s not just the high profile jobs – about two dozen of them for Mr. Trump; his people need to appoint just over 4,000 people to top jobs in a new administration.
Mr. Trump was in Wisconsin on Tuesday night, one of his four post-campaign rallies this week, as the President-Elect used the opportunity to praise Speaker Paul Ryan.
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) December 14, 2016
The President-Elect had been scheduled to set out his plans on Thursday for how he will deal with his family business interests while in the White House, but an announcement on that has been put on hold.
“Initially, it’s a little worrying that Trump has pushed his plan to deal with conflicts of interest to some unnamed time in the future,” said Noah Bookbinder, head of the group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.
“Hopefully this is a signal that he’s taking the issue very seriously,” Bookbinder added.
There are some who argue that Mr. Trump must sell off his family assets, and not just shift the control to his children.
“It’s time to divest and avoid even the appearance of impropriety,” said Danielle Brian, the Executive Director of the Project on Government Oversight.
“By doing so now, he can prevent being embroiled in scandal, litigation, or government investigations for years to come,” she added.
The public advice has been exactly that from the federal Office on Government Ethics, which sent Trump a message in a recent tweet storm.
.@realDonaldTrump – we told your counsel we'd sing your praises if you divested, we meant it.
— U.S. OGE (@OfficeGovEthics) November 30, 2016