ARGUMENT FOR: Carson started his career as a highly accomplished surgeon before turning his attention to politics. His many fans on the conservative right cite his religious faith and rags-to-riches personal story as factors behind their support. Trump has called Carson “brilliant” and a “tough competitor.”
ARGUMENT AGAINST: Carson has no experience in public policy and no particular expertise in housing issues. He is known for promoting theories that prison makes inmates gay and that the pyramids were originally constructed to store grain.
WHO: Elaine Chao
NOMINATED FOR: Transportation secretary
FINAL VOTE: 93-6 on Jan. 31
ARGUMENT FOR: Chao previously served as deputy secretary at the Transportation Department and secretary of the Labor Department, giving her expansive insight into the workings of federal bureaucracy. Trump praised her “expertise,” “strong leadership” and personal background as an immigrant.
ARGUMENT AGAINST: The nomination of Chao, a consummate Washington insider married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), defies Trump’s promise to surround himself only with people from outside government.
WHO: Betsy DeVos
NOMINATED FOR: Education secretary
FINAL VOTE: 51-50 on Feb. 7, full Senate
ARGUMENT FOR: To supporters of school voucher programs, DeVos is a champion. A billionaire conservative activist, she has spent millions on programs to expand them across the country. Trump called her a “brilliant and passionate education advocate.”
ARGUMENT AGAINST: DeVos has no professional experience in schools and no traditional experience in education policy. Detractors say her views pose an unprecedented threat to the public school system as a civic institution.
WHO: South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R)
NOMINATED FOR: Ambassador to the United Nations
FINAL VOTE: 96-4 on Jan. 24
ARGUMENT FOR: A daughter of Indian immigrants and a rising Republican star, Haley is a polished communicator with national security views that fit into the Republican mainstream.
ARGUMENT AGAINST: Haley has virtually no experience in foreign policy or international affairs except for leading trade missions on behalf of South Carolina.
WHO: Retired Marine Gen. John Kelly
NOMINATED FOR: Homeland security secretary
FINAL VOTE: 88-11 on Jan. 20
ARGUMENT FOR: A widely respected and long-serving military officer, Kelly oversaw operations in Central and South America as head of the U.S. Southern Command. Trump praised him as the “right person to spearhead the urgent mission of stopping illegal immigration” and experienced in stopping drug and human trafficking.
ARGUMENT AGAINST: The choice of Kelly further raised questions about Trump’s desire to surround himself with military generals, and Kelly has a blunt manner that can bring him into conflict with other leaders. Detractors have raised concerns about his past comments questioning the Pentagon order opening jobs in combat units to women.
WHO: Robert E. Lighthizer
NOMINATED FOR: U.S. trade representative
CONFIRMED? Not yet.
SENATE HEARING: TBA, Senate Finance Committee
ARGUMENT FOR: A former Reagan administration official, Lighthizer has decades of experience in trade policy and litigation. He is currently a partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, where he represents heavy manufacturing, agricultural and high-tech companies and has served as lead counsel in “scores of antidumping countervailing duty cases,” according to his official biography.
ARGUMENT AGAINST: Lighthizer is a harsh critic of China and has advocated for imposing unilateral tariffs on Chinese imports, a step many believe would risk a trade war.
WHO: Retired Marine Gen. James Mattis
NOMINATED FOR: Defense secretary
FINAL VOTE: 98-1 on Jan. 20
ARGUMENT FOR: Mattis is highly experienced, having served more than four decades in the Marine Corps, including as the chief of U.S. Central Command. He is highly respected within the military establishment.
ARGUMENT AGAINST: Mattis is known for making impolitic comments from time to time, such as “It’s fun to shoot some people,” a remark he made during a panel discussion in 2005. To lead the Pentagon, he needs a waiver from Congress bypassing a federal law that disqualifies military personnel who served on active duty in the previous seven years from becoming defense secretary. He is one of several former generals expected to join the top ranks of Trump’s administration, a source of criticism for the president-elect.
WHO: Linda McMahon
NOMINATED FOR: Administrator of the Small Business Administration
FINAL VOTE: 81-19 on Feb. 14
ARGUMENT FOR: Trump praised McMahon, the co-founder and former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment, as “one of the country’s top female executives advising businesses around the globe.”
ARGUMENT AGAINST: Critics have alleged the WWE engaged in questionable labor practices under McMahon’s leadership, including promoting steroid and painkiller abuse and requiring wrestlers to follow a grueling schedule that some say contributed to their premature deaths. Democrats who oppose her nomination say she lacks the policy knowledge to lead the SBA.
WHO: Steven Mnuchin
NOMINATED FOR: Treasury secretary
FINAL VOTE: 53-47 on Feb. 13
ARGUMENT FOR: Mnuchin, a highly successful investor and former Goldman Sachs executive, “has played a key role in developing our plan to build a dynamic, booming economy that will create millions of jobs,” Trump said in November.
ARGUMENT AGAINST: Mnuchin has no government experience and has articulated few policy views. His tenure on Wall Street seems to contradict Trump’s populist rhetoric on the campaign trail and has become a target for critics.
WHO: Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.)
NOMINATED FOR: Director of the Office of Management and Budget
FINAL VOTE: 51-49 on Feb. 16
ARGUMENT FOR: Elected to the House in the 2010 tea party wave, Mulvaney is known as a budget policy wonk and vociferous deficit hawk, endearing him to fiscal conservatives. He has served on the House Budget, Financial Services and Oversight and Government Reform Committees.
ARGUMENT AGAINST: Mulvaney campaigned for the House on a promise never to raise the debt ceiling and has voted several times against doing so, a position critics believe downplays the potentially disastrous results of a government default. Mulvaney also failed to pay more than $15,000 in state and federal payroll taxes for a household employee, according to a disclosure form obtained by The Post.
WHO: Former Georgia governor Sonny Perdue (R)
NOMINATED FOR: Agriculture secretary
CONFIRMED? Not yet.
NEXT HEARING: TBA, Senate Committee on Agriculture
ARGUMENT FOR: Perdue has a strong background in agriculture, having grown up on a farm, owned a grain and fertilizer business and trained as a veterinarian. As the former governor of Georgia, a state where farming is the largest industry, he is familiar with agricultural policy and has experience running a government bureaucracy.
ARGUMENT AGAINST: Opponents believe Perdue’s decisions and ties to industry will serve the interests of agribusiness and factory farming at the expense of environmental protection and animal welfare. Perdue has also made statements suggesting he is skeptical of climate change.
WHO: Former Texas governor Rick Perry (R)
NOMINATED FOR: Energy secretary
FINAL VOTE: 62-37 on March 2
ARGUMENT FOR: Perry was the longest-serving governor in the history of Texas, a major oil-and-gas state.
ARGUMENT AGAINST: Perry has voiced support for abolishing the Energy Department, and environmental groups worry his confirmation would mean rolling back efforts to expand renewable energy. He has also repeatedly questioned scientific findings about climate change.
WHO: Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.)
NOMINATED FOR: CIA director
FINAL VOTE: 66-32 on Jan. 23
ARGUMENT FOR: Pompeo, who was elected to the House in 2010, serves on the House Intelligence Committee. A graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, he served as an cavalry officer before founding an aerospace company — a varied record that Trump favors. He was praised as “bright and hard-working” by Democratic House colleague Adam B. Schiff (Calif.).
ARGUMENT AGAINST: Pompeo has no meaningful experience in espionage. He is seen as a fierce partisan on issues such as the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya, and the leaks by Edward Snowden, a tendency some CIA veterans fear could bias his judgment.
WHO: Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.)
NOMINATED FOR: Health and Human Services secretary
FINAL VOTE: 52-47 on Feb. 10
ARGUMENT FOR: Price, a third-generation doctor and chairman of the House Budget Committee, is a health-care policy expert who has proposed his own alternative to Obamacare.
ARGUMENT AGAINST: Critics point to Price’s desire to repeal the Affordable Care Act and overhaul U.S. entitlement programs as a reason not to confirm him. Price’s stock portfolio is also receiving scrutiny amid revelations he bought and sold shares in health-care companies that would be affected by legislation he worked on.
WHO: Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt
NOMINATED FOR: EPA administrator
FINAL VOTE: 52-46 on Feb. 17
ARGUMENT FOR: Pruitt is an “expert in constitutional law” and “one of the country’s top attorneys general” who has a deep familiarity with federal environmental and energy regulations.
ARGUMENT AGAINST: Pruitt has spent his tenure as attorney general fighting the Environmental Protection Agency. Critics point to his philosophical differences with the agency’s mission as reason not to confirm him.
WHO: Andrew Puzder
ORIGINALLY NOMINATED FOR: Labor secretary
ARGUMENT FOR: Puzder is chief executive of CKE Restaurants, the parent company of Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. Trump said he has “created and boosted the careers of thousands of Americans.”
ARGUMENT AGAINST: Detractors point to Puzder’s opposition to the Affordable Care Act, federal rules that would make more workers eligible for overtime pay and substantially raising the minimum wage to argue he should not lead the Labor Department. His ex-wife accused him of beating her — Puzder denies any physical abuse — in their 1986 divorce proceedings. He has also faced criticism for his company’s use of racy and suggestive advertising.
WHO: Wilbur Ross
NOMINATED FOR: Commerce secretary
FINAL VOTE: 72-27 on Feb. 27
ARGUMENT FOR: Trump praised Ross, a billionaire investor who made his fortune restructuring distressed companies, as a “champion of American manufacturing” and “one of the greatest negotiators I have ever met.” Supporters hope his experience as a turnaround specialist will boost jobs and reinvigorate troubled U.S. industries.
ARGUMENT AGAINST: Ross’s record of buying and restructuring troubled businesses sometimes involved layoffs and budget cuts. He is a hard-line supporter of renegotiating or withdrawing from free-trade agreements, a stance that puts him in conflict with free-market Republican orthodoxy.
WHO: Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.)
NOMINATED FOR: Attorney general
FINAL VOTE: 52-47 on Feb. 8
ARGUMENT FOR: Trump has praised Sessions, a longtime adviser and supporter, as a “world-class legal mind.” First elected in 1996, Sessions previously served as a U.S. attorney and attorney general for Alabama. He has earned praise from Democrats who work with him.
ARGUMENT AGAINST: Accusations of racism have dogged Sessions’s career. He was denied a federal judgeship in 1986 after former colleagues testified he used the n-word and said the Ku Klux Klan was “okay” until he realized Klan members smoked marijuana.
WHO: David Shulkin
NOMINATED FOR: Veterans Affairs secretary
FINAL VOTE: 100-0 on Feb. 13
ARGUMENT FOR: Shulkin already serves as VA’s Undersecretary for Health, giving him firsthand experience leading one of the department’s largest administrations. He was confirmed unanimously for the job in June 2015, and prior to that, spent 30 years leading private hospitals.
ARGUMENT AGAINST: Trump supporters say it is not clear Shulkin agrees with the president’s desire to dramatically expand private care for veterans, and some point to ongoing problems with the Veterans Health Administration to argue he was the wrong choice. If confirmed, Shulkin would be the first VA secretary not to have served in the military.
WHO: Rex Tillerson
NOMINATED FOR: Secretary of state
FINAL VOTE: 56-43 on Feb. 1
ARGUMENT FOR: Trump sees Tillerson, who joined ExxonMobil in 1975 and served as its chief executive, as the “embodiment of the American Dream.” Trump has praised his “tenacity, broad experience and deep understanding of geopolitics.” As a global business leader, Tillerson has experience dealing with heads of state around the world, including in Russia, Saudi Arabia and Yemen.
ARGUMENT AGAINST: Tillerson has no experience in the public sector, received the Order of Friendship from Russian President Vladimir Putin and brings along potential conflicts of interest from his business career. It’s also unclear whether he supports sanctions implemented against Russia in 2014 over its annexation of Crimea and Moscow’s support for separatists in Ukraine.
WHO: Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-Mont.)
NOMINATED FOR: Interior secretary
FINAL VOTE: 68-31 on March 1
ARGUMENT FOR: Zinke, an outdoor enthusiast and fifth-generation Montanan, sits on the House Natural Resources Committee. Trump praised his “impressive portfolio on Interior issues ranging from federal mineral leases to tribal affairs to public lands conservation” and noted his experience and “incredible leadership skills” as a Navy SEAL from 1986 to 2008.
ARGUMENT AGAINST: Zinke, who has spent only one term in Congress, has been widely criticized by environmental groups for opposing their agenda on issues ranging from protections for endangered species to coal extraction to gas drilling. He said during a 2014 debate that climate change is “not a hoax, but it’s not proven science either.”