After a grueling election, the US elected Donald Trump as its 45th President.
However smart, powerful or competent he may be, it is impossible for any President to govern all matters of the country on his own. Like all Presidents before him, Donald Trump will have to rely on an able group of people who can advise him on important executive and constitutional matters.
These experts advise the President on making policies, serve as representatives of the country and help implement the established rules. Since these policy makers can change the direction of a country, the President's nominations have to be approved by the Senate.
So who are these men and women that Trump has nominated? How does the process of confirmation work? Lets find out.
What Makes A Cabinet?
A President's cabinet consists of the Vice President and the leaders of 15 executive departments (see Notes), who are each referred to as 'Secretary.' The person who heads the Justice Department alone is referred to as the Attornety General.
Cabinet members are appointed in a two-stage process. The candidates nominated by the President are first interviewed by a committee consisting of a group of Senators. The committee's job is to make sure that the candidate has no conflicts of interest (meaning the person should not benefit from their position of power) and has done nothing illegal.
The group of Senators also assess how well a candidate understands their responsiblitiy and what their opinions are -- because as head of the department, the candidates shape the future direction of the Government. After the committee recommends the candidate, a vote is held in the Senate to confirm the candidate.
Cabinet members serve only at the request and pleasure of the President. They can be dismissed at any time. While any qualified person can become a Cabinet member, they are not permitted to hold any other public office while serving on the cabinet. Other than the 15 executive appointees, there are also officials who hold a Cabinet rank, but do not need to be confirmed by the Senate [see notes on the right].
Donald Trump's Cabinet
Most of Trump's nominations have cleared the committees and the Senate vote, and have now been appointed as Secretaries. Notable among them are Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State, James Mattis as Secretary of Defense, Elaine Chao for Transportation, John Kelly for Defense, Mike Pompeo as CIA director and Nikki Haley as US ambassador to the UN.
A couple of President Trump's nominations are facing hurdles. Betsy DeVos for Education secretary, is one of the many that are likely to face a struggle, as also the hearings of Steven Mnuchin for treasury secretary.
For Trump's government to begin functioning quickly and efficiently, it is important for the Cabinet to be in place soon. Despite delays, the procedure is slowly moving along and all important heads of departments are expected to be in place soon.