Appointee Watch: Another Cabinet Post Shuffle
Trump names nominees to ambassadorships, Treasury amid leadership shake-ups.
President Trump continued his effort to reshape the top levels of his administration Wednesday, announcing via Tweet that he had ousted Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, and that he would nominate White House physician Ronny Jackson to succeed him.
Shulkin has been embattled for more than a month by an inspector general’s report alleging improprieties surrounding a trip he and his wife took to Europe. While the Senate considers Jackson’s nomination, current Defense Department Undersecretary for Personnel and Readiness Robert Wilkie will fill in as acting secretary.
The move comes just weeks after Trump fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and announced he would replace him with CIA Director Mike Pompeo. In that bit of musical chairs, Pompeo would be replaced by Gina Haspel, a longtime CIA employee controversial for her role overseeing black sites during the George W. Bush administration.
In the meantime, Trump has continued to name appointments to a variety of other important posts throughout government. According to the Washington Post and the Partnership for Public Service, who have been tracking more than 600 key posts that require Senate confirmation, 217 jobs remain vacant and without a nominee. An additional 153 people have been named or formally nominated, while the Senate has confirmed 292 appointments.
In recent weeks, Trump has announced the nominations of people to posts in these agencies:
Defense: James Anderson, assistant secretary for strategy, plans and capabilities. Anderson is vice president of academic affairs at the Marine Corps University. He previously was the Defense Department’s director of Middle East policy, and in the 1980s he was a Marine Corps intelligence officer.
Environmental Protection Agency: William McIntosh, assistant administrator for international and tribal affairs. McIntosh has served as deputy director of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, where the White House said he was involved in “regulatory reform.” He later worked at Ford Motor Company, where he worked on environmental permitting, compliance and other issues regarding the company’s manufacturing facilities.
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission: Sharon Gustafson, general counsel. Gustafson is an attorney with deep experience in employment law, practicing before both the EEOC and federal courts. She has represented both employees and employers in her career.
Federal Trade Commission: Rebecca Slaughter, member. Slaughter is chief counsel to Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.
Health and Human Services: Elizabeth Darling, commissioner on children, youth and families. Darling is president and CEO of OneStar Foundation, which provides support to nonprofit organizations in Texas. She previously was chief operating officer of the Corporation for National and Community Service, and she was deputy secretary for the Maryland Department of Human Resources, which administers a variety of support and family assistance programs.
Judith Stecker, assistant secretary for public affairs. Stecker most recently was executive director of media relations and strategic marketing for the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank. She previously worked in communications for the Heritage Foundation and as director of communications at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
Homeland Security: James McDonnell, assistant secretary for countering weapons of mass destruction. McDonnell has served as director of the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office, and he was a member of the department’s original executive leadership team. He also has held positions at the Energy Department and in the White House, and he is a retired 20-year Navy veteran.
Merit Systems Protections Board: Dennis Kirk, member. Kirk is an attorney and formal federal employee. Before entering the private sector, Kirk served as associate general counsel for the Department of the Army during the George W. Bush administration, and he also worked as an attorney with the Interstate Commerce Commission’s Bureau of Enforcement.
State: Joseph Mondello, ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago. Mondello is a prominent attorney and longtime member of the New York Republican Party.
Stephen Akard, director, Office of Foreign Missions. Akard has been a senior advisor in the Office of the Undersecretary for Economic Growth since January 2017. He previously served as chief of staff, vice president and general counsel, and director of international development for the Indiana Economic Development Corporation. He was a foreign service officer from 1997 until 2005.
Kenneth George, ambassador to Uruguay. George was assistant secretary and director general of the Commerce Department’s U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service during the Reagan administration. Since then, he has been a legislator in the Texas House of Representatives and has served on a number of local and state boards and commissions.
John Rakolta, ambassador to the United Arab Emirates. Rakolta is a chairman and CEO of Walbridge Aldinger Company, based in Detroit. He also has served as an honorary consul for Romania.
Kyle McCarter, ambassador to Kenya. McCarter is a Republican Illinois state senator and business owner. From 1984 until 1989, he was a field auditor, missionary and international director of Each One Feed One International, a Christian charity founded by McCarter’s parents.
Treasury: Michael Faulkender, assistant secretary for economic policy. Faulkender is associate dean of masters programs and a professor of finance at the University of Maryland Smith School of Business.
David Eisner, assistant secretary for management. Eisner is a private investor and executive chairman of Compliance Science, Inc., a financial industry regulation technology company. He previously was founder and CEO of TheMarkets.com LLC.
Image via lev radin/Shutterstock.com.