Categories for Cabinet
CABINET/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “Great mtg w/ @Cabinet today. Tomorrow, I will be announcing the new head of the Fed. I think you will be extremely impressed by this person! https://t.co/5ASJVLGAiG”
-Donald Trump, Twitter.com, Nov. 1, 2017 10:21pm
CABINET/TRUMP EXEC ORDERS: ” ‘Continuance of Certain Federal Advisory Committees’
The order extends certain federal advisory committees until September 30, 2019.
Trump extended 32 federal advisory committees, including the Invasive Species Advisory Committee, the Trade and Environment Policy Advisory Committee, and the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS. Presidents routinely issue similar orders extending the lifetime of federal advisory committees.”
-Avalon Zoppo, Amanda Proenca Santos, and Jackson Hudgins, “Here’s the Full List of Donald Trump’s Executive Orders,” NBC News, Oct 17, 2017 11:58am
CABINET/CRISIS/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “Going to a Cabinet Meeting (tele-conference) at 11:00 A.M. on #Harvey. Even experts have said they’ve never seen one like this!”
-Donald Trump, Twitter.com, August 27, 2017 09:31am
CABINET/CLIMATE CHANGE/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “The average temperature in the United States has risen rapidly and drastically since 1980, and recent decades have been the warmest of the past 1,500 years, according to a sweeping federal climate change report awaiting approval by the Trump administration.
The draft report by scientists from 13 federal agencies, which has not yet been made public, concludes that Americans are feeling the effects of climate change right now. It directly contradicts claims by President Trump and members of his cabinet who say that the human contribution to climate change is uncertain, and that the ability to predict the effects is limited…
The authors note that thousands of studies, conducted by tens of thousands of scientists, have documented climate changes on land and in the air. ‘Many lines of evidence demonstrate that human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse (heat-trapping) gases, are primarily responsible for recent observed climate change,’ they wrote.
The report was completed this year and is a special science section of the National Climate Assessment, which is congressionally mandated every four years. The National Academy of Sciences has signed off on the draft report, and the authors are awaiting permission from the Trump administration to release it.”
-Lisa Friedman, “Scientists Fear Trump Will Dismiss Blunt Climate Report,” The New York Times online, Aug. 7, 2017
CABINET/HHS/TRUMP PEOPLE/TOM PRICE: “Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price’s appointment to be a cabinet secretary inadvertently saved him a big stock market loss, while as many as five members of congress may not have been so lucky.
When Dr. Price was appointed to run HHS, he said he would sell 461,238 shares in an Australian biomedical company to avoid any possible future conflicts of interest, in case the firm’s primary drug came to the U.S. market.
On Tuesday [6-27-17], the company, Innate Immunotherapeutics , announced a clinical trial for a multiple sclerosis drug had apparently failed, sending the stock tumbling 92%. If Dr. Price had sold the stock after Tuesday’s decline, his shares would have been worth $22,601, registering a loss on an initial $94,000 investment.
Instead, Dr. Price, a former Republican congressman from Georgia, in February sold the Innate Immunotherapeutics shares for about $320,000, earning at least $225,000, according to an analysis by The Wall Street Journal of his disclosures to Congress and an ethics disclosure report in April.
Dr. Price’s spokeswoman didn’t respond to a request for comment.”
-James V. Grimaldi, “Secretary Price Exits Before Stock Plunge, But Some GOP Lawmakers Face Potential Losses,” The Wall Street Journal online, June 28, 2017 05:30am
CABINET/CLIMATE CHANGE/EPA/LEGAL: “The Environmental Protection Agency’s chief of staff pressured the top scientist on the agency’s scientific review board to alter her congressional testimony and play down the dismissal of expert advisers, his emails show.
Deborah Swackhamer, an environmental chemist who leads the E.P.A.’s Board of Scientific Counselors, was to testify on May 23 before the House Science Committee on the role of states in environmental policy when Ryan Jackson, the E.P.A.’s chief of staff, asked her to stick to the agency’s ‘talking points” on the dismissals of several members of the scientific board.
‘I was stunned that he was pushing me to *correct* something in my testimony,’ said Dr. Swackhamer, a retired University of Minnesota professor. ‘I was factual, and he was not. I felt bullied.”
Dr. Swackhamer’s testimony came two weeks after the dismissals, which were met with fierce pushback from a scientific community that saw it as evidence that the Trump administration is seeking to weaken the role of academic science in environmental policy.”
-Coral Davenport, “E.P.A. Official Pressured Scientist on Congressional Testimony, Emails Show,” The New York Times online, June 26, 2017
CABINET/EDUCATION/TRUMP PEOPLE/BETSY DEVOS: “Students who received publicly funded vouchers in Indiana and Louisiana appeared to lose significant academic ground in the first two years after switching to private schools but then caught up to their public-school counterparts in subsequent years, according to two studies made public Monday [6-26-17].
The studies do not show that vouchers led to significantly stronger math and reading performance overall, even as President Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos promise to pour billions of dollars into expanding vouchers nationwide.
Vouchers are direct government payments that families use as scholarships to attend private schools, and they are bitterly contested.
Both sides could claim a measure of validation from the new research: advocates of school choice who say it isn’t fair to judge voucher programs based on test results from a student’s first year in private school, and critics who say vouchers drain funding from public schools without improving achievement.”
-Emma Brown, “School voucher recipients lose ground at first, then catch up to peers, studies find,” The Washington Post online, June 26, 2017 05:06pm
CABINET/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT/TRUMP PEOPLE: “President Donald Trump offered an explanation Wednesday [6-21-17] for why he has one of the wealthiest Cabinets in history.
‘I love all people — rich or poor — but in those particular positions, I just don’t want a poor person,’ he said at a rally in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. ‘Does that make sense? If you insist, I’ll do it — but I like it better this way.’
Trump named billionaire Wilbur Ross, who has made a fortune cobbling together dying companies, as his commerce secretary, and Todd Ricketts, part of the billionaire family that owns the Chicago Cubs, as deputy commerce secretary.
The Cabinet also includes billionaire Betsy DeVos as his pick for education secretary and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is a former Goldman Sachs executive.
‘Somebody said, *Why’d you appoint rich person to be in charge of the economy,*’ said Trump, a billionaire himself. ‘I said, *Because that’s the kind of thinking we want.*’
‘They’re representing the country. They don’t want the money. They’re representing the country. They had to give up a lot to take these jobs. They gave up a lot,’ he said.
Trump pointed out that Ross and his chief economic adviser, Gary Cohn, a former Goldman Sachs president, were at the rally. Trump frequently bashed the investment bank on the campaign trail for having too much influence in politics and for paying Democratic rival Hillary Clinton hundreds of thousands for private speeches.”
-Eugene Scott, “Trump: ‘I just don’t want a poor person’ in Cabinet economic jobs,” CNN Politics, CNN.com, June 22, 2017 10:15am
CABINET/EDUCATION/TRUMP PEOPLE/BETSY DEVOS: “Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said this week she plans to appoint Arthur Wayne Johnson, the chief executive of a private student loan company, to run the federal government’s trillion-dollar financial aid operations.
The announcement Tuesday [6-21-17] did not mention Johnson’s role as founder and chief executive of Reunion Student Loan Finance Corporation, based in South Dakota.
Rather, DeVos praised a dissertation Johnson, 61, completed last year through a weekend PhD program at Mercer University in Atlanta.
‘He actually wrote the book on student loan debt,’ DeVos said in a statement.
The announcement came almost a month after James Runcie abruptly resigned as chief operating officer of the Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA). Runcie, as he left with three years remaining in his term, warned of what he described as brewing management problems within the Education Department. He complained in a letter to staff of being ‘encumbered from exercising’ his ‘authorities to properly lead.’
DeVos, in a statement, called Johnson ‘the right person to modernize FSA.’ She added: ‘He will bring a unique combination of CEO-level operating skills and an in-depth understanding of the needs and issues associated with student loan borrowers and their families.’ “
-Danielle Douglar-Gabriel and Aaron C. Davis, “DeVos picks private student loan chief to head government loan program,” The Washington Post online, June 21, 2017 03:22pm
CABINET/NATIONAL DEBT/TREASURY/TRUMP PEOPLE/STEVE MNUCHIN: “Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Tuesday [6-20-17] he isn’t concerned about U.S. tax receipts coming in lower than expected in recent months.
If the trend continues, it could shorten the amount of time the government has before it runs out of cash to pay its bills unless Congress raises the federal borrowing limit. The government hit that limit in mid-March and has been using extraordinary measures since then to meet its obligations, including payments on government debt as well as other programs such as Social Security and veterans benefits.
Mr. Mnuchin told CNBC in an interview Tuesday that the government has enough cash to pay its bills ‘through the beginning of September.’ A short time later, in an interview on Bloomberg TV, he said Treasury could meet its obligations ‘through September’ if Congress doesn’t raise the debt limit before leaving for a five-week summer recess.
‘There are certain individuals and businesses that are pushing off taxes until later in the year, but nothing that we’re concerned about,’ he told CNBC.
Still, Mr. Mnuchin urged Congress to raise the debt limit before lawmakers leave Washington on July 28.”
-Kate Davidson, “Treasury’s Mnuchin Says U.S. Has Enough Cash to Meet Obligations ‘Through September’,” The Wall Street Journal online, June 20, 2017 08:56am
CABINET/CIA/NATIONAL SECURITY: “CIA Director Mike Pompeo carves out three hours almost every weekday to drive from Langley, Virginia, to the White House with his team to give President Donald Trump his national security briefing in person.
The CIA director’s treks to the West Wing reflect Trump’s insistence on frequent meetings with favored members of his team. Every president has regular contact with key Cabinet members, but Trump, who remains deeply mistrustful of career agency officials, has turned the White House into a hangout for his chosen department heads.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has met with the president at least 34 times since he was confirmed in February, according to a POLITICO analysis of Trump’s interactions since taking office. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross are also frequent guests at the White House — so much so that one White House staffer quipped, “Wilbur practically lives here.” Defense Secretary James Mattis has enjoyed private meetings with the president, and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt has taken to eating at the White House mess several times a week.
Senior aides say Trump demands face time with his appointees in part because he doesn’t trust bureaucrats who do the day-to-day work of the federal government. The president shuns them as tools of what he often refers to as the ‘deep state,’ and blames them for frequent, unflattering news stories coming from his White House, according to two White House aides.”
-Tara Palmeri and Andrew Restuccia, “Trump demands face time with favored Cabinet heads,” Politico, June 19, 2017 05:05am
CABINET/EDUCATION/TRUMP PEOPLE/BETSY DEVOS: “The Trump administration is delaying new rules that would erase the federal loan debt of student borrowers cheated by for-profit colleges.
The announcement by the Education Department on Wednesday came just weeks before the rules, finalized during the Obama administration, were to take effect on July 1.
The new rules stood to benefit students from failed for-profit colleges already seeking to have their loans forgiven, as well as others who might be eligible to do so. They also established tougher standards intended to check the flow of further federal funds to rogue for-profit operators.
‘My first priority is to protect students,’ Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said in a statement issued by the department. ‘Fraud, especially fraud committed by a school, is simply unacceptable. Unfortunately, last year’s rulemaking effort missed an opportunity to get it right. The result is a muddled process that’s unfair to students and schools, and puts taxpayers on the hook for significant costs.’ “
-Patricia Cohen, “U.S. Halts New Rules Aimed at Abuses by For-Profit Schools,” The New York Times online, June 14, 2017
CAMPAIGN/FBI/ROBERT MUELLER/RUSSIA/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “Last month’s appointment of Robert S. Mueller III as a special counsel to investigate possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia enraged President Trump. Yet, at least initially, he holstered his Twitter finger and publicly said nothing.
But behind the scenes, the president soon began entertaining the idea of firing Mr. Mueller even as his staff tried to discourage him from something they believed would turn a bad situation into a catastrophe, according to several people with direct knowledge of Mr. Trump’s interactions. A longtime friend, Christopher Ruddy, surfaced the president’s thinking in a television interview Monday night, setting off a frenzied day of speculation that he would go through with it.
For now, the staff has prevailed. ‘While the president has every right to’ fire Mr. Mueller, ‘he has no intention to do so,’ the White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters late Tuesday.”
-Glenn Thrush, Maggie Haberman, and Julie Hirschfeld Davis, “Trump Stews, Staff Steps In, and Mueller Is Safe for Now,” The New York Times online, June 13, 2017
CABINET/EDUCATION/TRUMP PEOPLE/BETSY DEVOS: “Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said Tuesday [6-13-17] that criticism of her position on discrimination in schools is ‘hurtful’ and ‘couldn’t be further from the truth.’
‘I think discrimination in any form is wrong and I have said before and I’ll say again, the department is committed to ensuring that every child has a safe and nurturing environment,’ DeVos said during a question-and-answer session after her address to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.
DeVos did not, however, wade into the issue that has prompted the criticism: her repeated refusal to say specifically whether she believes federal funding should be withheld from non-public schools that discriminate.
She said at a recent Senate hearing that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is ‘unsettled’ law and a matter for Congress and the courts to address rather than her department. Those questions came after an earlier hearing in May when DeVos was criticized for declining to tell lawmakers whether federal funding for state-run voucher programs would be pulled from private schools that discriminate in admissions.”
-Gregory Wallace and Grace Hauck, “DeVos: Criticism of her position on discrimination ‘hurtful’,” CNN Politcs, CNN.com, June 13, 2017 12:18pm
BUDGET/CABINET/STATE/TRUMP PEOPLE/REX TILLERSON: “Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will defend the Trump administration’s proposal to cut almost one third of the State Department budget in the face of tough questioning from lawmakers on Tuesday and Wednesday [6-14-17].
Mr. Tillerson’s congressional appearances, beginning Tuesday morning before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, will be the first time he takes questions from lawmakers since he became the chief U.S. diplomat in February.
Mr. Tillerson has faced strong bipartisan pushback on the Trump administration’s proposal to cut the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development budget by 32%.”
-Felicia Schwartz, “Rex Tillerson, in First Hill Appearance as Secretary, Facing Series of Tough Questions,” The Wall Street Journal online, June 13, 2017 08:10am
CABINET/INTERIOR/TRUMP PEOPLE/RYAN ZINKE: “Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke on Monday proposed significantly scaling back the borders of a national monument in southeastern Utah, in a legally unprecedented move that opponents say violates a century-old law signed by President Theodore Roosevelt.
Bears Ears National Monument is a 1.3-million-acre conservation area that was designated by President Barack Obama in his final days in office. President Trump had called for a review of that decision, and Mr. Zinke’s recommendation is being watched closely as an indicator of how the Trump administration will treat public lands.
Mr. Zinke made his recommendation in a report that also requests Congress give local tribes the authority to co-manage ‘designated cultural resources’ within the monument’s new boundaries. But he suggests that the president hold off on a final decision on the region until a review of 26 other monuments is complete in late August.
The Bears Ears designation was supported by environmentalists and the leaders of many native tribes in the region, including the Navajo Nation, but was opposed by Utah’s governor, the state’s congressional delegation, and some local residents who said they did not want tighter federal restrictions on land near their homes.”
-Julie Turkewitz and Coarl Davenport, “Interior Secretary Recommends Shrinking Borders of Bears Ears Monument,” Then New York Times online, June 12, 2017
CABINET/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “Finally held our first full @Cabinet meeting today. With this great team, we can restore American prosperity and br… https://t.co/b0roksHTFE”
-Donald Trump, Twitter.com, June 12, 2017 04:10pm
CABINET/INTERIOR/TRUMP PEOPLE/RYAN ZINKE: “Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke informed President Donald Trump on Monday [6-12-17] that he was delaying his decision on the controversial Bears Ears National Monument, putting off the final decision until later in 2017.
In a memo to the President, Zinke says he has produced at ’45-day interim report’ on the national monument — as is requested in the executive order Trump signed in April — and will issue a ‘more detailed final report’ later this year.
The decision delays any certainty for Bears Ears, a 1.3-million-acre parcel of lands that includes world-class rock climbing, age-old cliff dwellings and land sacred to Pueblo Indians that Obama designated a monument in 2016.
Trump’s order authorized Zinke to review federal lands designated by Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, setting up a possibly historic decision that would make Trump the first president to shrink a national monument.”
-Dan Merica, “Zinke delays final decision on rolling back national monument approved by Obama,” CNN Politics, CNN.com, June 12, 2017 10:57am
CABINET/DHS/INTELLIGENCE/LEGAL/TRUMP PEOPLE/JOHN KELLY: “At least one top Trump Cabinet official is bucking administration policy when it comes to oversight requests from Congress.
Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly told senators on Tuesday during congressional testimony that his department will respond to any inquiry from members of Congress, no matter who sends the request. A May 1 opinion from the Justice Department argues that only chairmen – all of which are Republicans, since the GOP controls Congress — have the power to conduct oversight of the Trump administration.
Kelly noted during his testimony that under his tenure, DHS has appeared more than 37 times before Congress, sent 57 witnesses and has been involved in 973 ‘Hill engagements.’ The Homeland chief also noted that Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), known for his zealous oversight of the executive branch, “gave me nothing but high marks” on the matter.
‘We’re going to make that better,’ Kelly said. ‘I think in every case thus far, and certainly in the last 90 days, 60 days anyways, we’re getting high marks. I will not freeze you out.’ “
-Seung Min Kim, “Kelly to Senate: We’ll respond to all inquiries,” Politico, June 6, 2017 07:21pm
CABINET/EDUCATION/TRUMP PEOPLE/BETSY DEVOS: “What exactly would a federal school voucher program look like, and would it fund schools that discriminate against students based on their gender, religion, race or sexual orientation?
That question was a major flash point — once again — on Tuesday as senators in an appropriations subcommittee questioned U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.
Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) asked DeVos if any voucher program would follow anti-discrimination laws.
DeVos repeated, at least six times over the course of the hearing, that any school accepting federal money would have to follow federal law.
But some senators were dissatisfied with this answer.”
-Joy Resmovits, “Betsy DeVos is ‘peripherally aware’ that people don’t like her,” The Los Angeles Times online, June 6, 2017 10:58am
AMBASSADOR/CABINET/POLITICS/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “President Donald Trump accused Democrats in the Senate of slowing the confirmation process for his appointees, including foreign ambassadors, even though Senate rules allow Republicans, the chamber’s majority party, to move appointees along without Democratic votes.
‘Dems are taking forever to approve my people, including Ambassadors. They are nothing but OBSTRUCTIONISTS! Want approvals,’ the president wrote on Twitter, directing his statement to the Fox News morning show ‘Fox & Friends,’ known to be a preferred program of his.
In the Trump administration’s opening weeks, White House officials were quick to loudly complain that the president’s nominees were facing an unprecedented level of scrutiny. Many of Trump’s nominees did indeed face controversy, in one instance prompting Labor Secretary-designate Andrew Puzder to withdraw from consideration and in another prompting Vice President Mike Pence to cast a tie-breaking deciding vote in favor of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.
But while Trump has blamed Capitol Hill for the sluggish pace at which appointees have been confirmed, the White House has thus far left dozens of key roles unfilled.
According to a database maintained by the Partnership for Public Service and The Washington Post, the Trump administration has formally nominated just 63 candidates – 39 of which have been approved – for 559 key positions that require Senate confirmation. Overall, there are 1,200 government jobs that require say-so from the Senate to fill.”
-Louis Nelson, “Trump blames Democrats for slow confirmation process,” Politico, June 5, 2017 10:46am
CABINET/HUD/TRUMP PEOPLE/BEN CARSON: “Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson is standing by his controversial comment that poverty is a ‘state of mind,’ but he says that ‘how a person thinks’ is only one component that contributes to being poor.
‘What I said is that it is a factor. A part of poverty can be the state of mind,’ he told NPR in an interview. ‘People tend to approach things differently, based on their frame of mind.’
His agency, he says, wants ‘to find ways to make sure that people understand that the person who has the most to do with what happens to you, is you.’
Carson, who grew up in poverty, said in a Sirius XM radio interview last month that ‘poverty to a large extent is also a state of mind.’ The comment drew widespread criticism from anti-poverty advocates who say it implies that poor Americans are at fault for their poverty and that they’re better off without government aid.
Carson is scheduled to appear before a House appropriations subcommittee Thursday to defend President Trump’s 2018 budget request for his agency.”
-Pam Fessler, “Housing Secretary Ben Carson Clarifies Comment That Poverty Is A ‘State Of Mind’,” NPR, June 5, 2017 05:00am
CABINET/EDUCATION/TRUMP PEOPLE/BETSY DEVOS: “Since her confirmation as the education secretary, Betsy DeVos has been the Trump cabinet member liberals love to hate, denouncing her as an out-of-touch, evangelical billionaire without the desire or capacity to protect vulnerable poor, black, immigrant, gay or transgender students.
But while Ms. DeVos has been reluctant to express sympathy for those groups, she has stacked her administration with appointees whose personal and professional backgrounds challenge the narrative that she has no interest in protecting those vulnerable students.
Among her appointees: a progressive Democrat who believes a broken education system is a form of white supremacy; a sexual assault survivor who is currently in a same-sex marriage; and a second-generation American who ran a federal program that helped undocumented immigrants.
While the education secretary has done little to highlight the diversity in her administration — the department declined to make any of the appointees available for interviews — DeVos watchers say that diversity should encourage critics to focus more on her actions than their preconceptions.”
-Erica L. Green, “Some Hires by Betsy DeVos Are a Stark Departure From Her Reputation,” The New York Times online, June 2, 2017
CABINET/CLIMATE CHANGE/STATE/TRUMP PEOPLE/REX TILLERSON: “The State Department is declining to say why Secretary of State Rex Tillerson did not attend President Donald Trump’s announcement that he was pulling the US out of the Paris climate agreement.
A senior State Department official told CNN Thursday Tillerson wasn’t planning on attending because he had other business at the State Department to attend to, but declined to elaborate.
Tillerson did not have any specific meeting listed in his public schedule at the time of the speech. His public schedule just said he was spending the day holding meetings and briefings at the State Department.
Despite his notable absence, the State Department would not officially confirm he was not in attendance, referring all questions to the White House.”
-Laura Koran, “State Department won’t say why Tillerson did not attend Trump climate speech,” CNNPolitics, CNN.com, June 2, 2017 02:38pm
CABINET/HUD/TRUMP PEOPLE/BEN CARSON: “Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson said in an interview Wednesday [5-23-17] that having ‘the wrong mindset’ contributes to poverty.
‘I think poverty to a large extent is also a state of mind,’ the retired neurosurgeon said during an interview with SiriusXM Radio released on Wednesday evening. ‘You take somebody that has the right mindset, you can take everything from them and put them on the street, and I guarantee in a little while they’ll be right back up there. And you take somebody with the wrong mindset, you could give them everything in the world, they’ll work their way right back down to the bottom.’
The former 2016 presidential candidate, who was appointed by President Donald Trump and confirmed to his Cabinet post in March, argued parents can help prevent their kids from developing the ‘wrong mindset.’
‘A lot of it has to do with what we teach children,’ he said. ‘You have to instill into that child the mindset of a winner.’ “
-Saba Hamedy, “HUD secretary Ben Carson: Poverty is largely ‘a state of mind’,” CNN Politics, CNN.com, May 25, 2017 8:32am