It’s a lineup that’s become familiar to viewers of cable TV this campaign season: Rudy Giuliani, Kellyanne Conway, Newt Gingrich, Reince Priebus, Corey Lewandowski, Ben Carson.
Now, it’s quite possible at least some of President-elect Donald Trump’s most visible surrogates will become members of his Cabinet.
Led by the New Jersey governor, Trump has had a serious transition effort underway here in Washington, even during the campaign’s lowest moments. That effort is being helmed day-to-day by longtime Christie aide Rich Bagger, a pharmaceutical executive no doubt wondering how long to extend his leave of absence.
The president-elect has major decisions to make in the next week, a crucial period in the 73 days between the election and the inauguration. There are indications the transition is holding morning-after discussions to finalize lists of Cabinet appointees and start the vetting process in earnest. Nominating secretaries of state, Treasury and defense, as well as attorney general, will be high on the list of early priorities.
When it comes to those jobs, Trump loyalists will be first in line. Giuliani is being eyed as a potential attorney general. (Christie, also known to want the job, has been damaged by his aides’ convictions in the “Bridgegate” scandal.) Stephen Hadley, a veteran of President George W. Bush’s White House, could become defense secretary or national security adviser. Priebus? A potential White House chief of staff.
Then there’s the matter of rewarding the tightly knit group of supporters that helped Trump win. NBC reported Monday that Gingrich is under consideration to become secretary of state; retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn to become defense secretary; and Trump finance chairman Steve Mnuchin to lead the Treasury Department.
Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke is reportedly a potential Department of Homeland Security secretary. Others seeking roles: Lewandowski, Trump’s former campaign manager who is now a CNN pundit; Kellyanne Conway, his campaign manager; Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Trump’s biggest booster in Congress; and Carson, the former neurosurgeon and darling of the conservative right.
Could Trump’s own children find places in the administration? Surely, if they want to push the legal envelope.
This does not even begin to illustrate the massive number of political appointments Trump will make (4,000), about a quarter of which will require Senate confirmation — luckily for him, in a GOP-held Senate.
And it doesn’t consider the unprecedented calculus it will take to, say, name Trump’s ambassador to Mexico.
And who knows who will be appointed as press secretary? Let the parlor games begin.