Trump’s Cabinet fills out with NSA, Commerce, Transportation, Treasury picks

Despite remaining unsettled on the vital position at the State Department, President-elect Donald Trump has appointed one veteran security official to the NSA, a former RNC lawyer to the White House legal team, a career government administrator to the Transportation Department and two businessmen to lead the Treasury and Commerce departments.

Joining the National Security Administration as top deputy to serve under General Michael Flynn is Kathleen Troia McFarland, currently a defense analyst for Fox News.  Otherwise known as “KT,” McFarland once served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs during the Reagan administration and is considered an expert on global terrorism, Russia, China and the Far East.

Similarly, in filling a vacancy in the White House Counsel’s office, Trump has hired veteran Republican Party attorney, Don McGahn.  Serving in several positions in both the Republican National Committee and George W. Bush’s White House and specializing in campaign law, McGahn’s most-recent government position was Commissioner of the Federal Election Commission, a role held from 2008–2013.

Serving by appointment, neither McFarland nor McGahn will have to face Senate confirmation.

Separately, sources have revealed Mr. Trump will nominate Elaine Chao to lead the Department of Transportation.  A familiar face in Washington, Chao is a former Labor Secretary under President George W. Bush and was both Director of the Peace Corps and an official with the Department of Transportation in the George H.W. Bush White House.

Born in Taiwan after her family fled mainland China after the communist takeover, Chao is also married to Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).  Until recently, Chao held a position as a Distinguished Fellow at the Heritage Foundation and has served on several non-profit boards.

The additional appointment of Steve Mnuchin to the Treasury Department was relatively easy: Mnuchin served as Mr. Trump’s campaign finance chairman.  A Wall Street banker and former executive with Goldman Sachs, Mnuchin left the investment giant and served with Dune Capital Management until he April when he joined Trump’s campaign.

Boasting of Mnuchin’s bright economic outlook, Trump described the hedge-fund manager in a statement:

“Steve Mnuchin is a world-class financier, banker and businessman, and has played a key role in developing our plan to build a dynamic, booming economy that will create millions of jobs.”

To guide the Commerce Department, Trump chose investor and philanthropist Wilbur Ross Jr.  A recognized expert in resuscitating failed businesses, Ross is the founder of WL Ross and Co., of which he maintains a role despite the sale of the firm in 2006.

A friend and business associate of Trump, Ross, 79, has a net worth estimated in excess of $2 billion, but is viewed as one who shares Trump’s deep skepticism of American trade agreements, favoring lower corporate and personal income tax and ending stifling government regulation of businesses.


[NPR] [RT America] [Reuters] [Photo courtesy Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post/Getty Images via New York Magazine]