21 November 2016
- From the sectionUS & Canada
As US President-elect Donald Trump makes his transition to the White House, we look at the family members and associates who are part of the team and could have key roles in decision-making during his presidency.
Vice-President-elect Mike Pence
The Indiana governor, 57, is charged with leading the team deciding the key appointments in the new administration.
He is a favourite among social conservatives who boasts considerable experience in Washington.
Mr Pence was raised Roman Catholic along with his five siblings in Columbus, Indiana, and says he was inspired by liberal icons John F Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr.
He is known for his staunch opposition to abortion, signing a bill in March to ban abortion in Indiana on the basis of disability, gender or race of the foetus.
He has said he would favour overturning a 1973 Supreme Court judgement, often referred to as the Roe v Wade case, which bars the US government from prohibiting abortions.
Women’s rights advocates have mounted online campaigns against his views, including asking people to call his office to tell them about their periods or to make donations to family-planning organisations in Mr Pence’s name.
He served as the chair of the House Republican Conference, the third highest-ranking Republican leadership position.
He also chaired the Republican Study Group, a coalition of conservative House Republicans, which could give him a boost with some evangelicals of the party that have questioned Mr Trump’s ideological purity, the BBC’s Anthony Zurcher says.
Jeff Sessions – Attorney General
Mr Sessions has been one of Mr Trump’s closest allies throughout the campaign.
In a statement, Mr Trump called the senator from Alabama a ”world class legal mind”.
”Jeff is greatly admired by legal scholars and virtually everyone who knows him,” Mr Trump said.
Mr Sessions said that he ”enthusiastically” embraced Mr Trump’s vision for ”one America and his commitment to equal justice under law”.
”I look forward to fulfilling my duties with an unwavering dedication to fairness and impartiality,” he said.
The 69-year-old was a supporter of the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, which Mr Trump recently called ”a terrible and stupid thing”.
Mr Sessions sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee, the Judiciary Committee and the Budget Committee.
Allegations of racism have dogged him throughout is career.
He lost out on a federal judgeship back in 1986 when former colleagues said he had used the n-word and joked about the Ku Klux Klan, saying he thought they were ”okay, until he learned that they smoked marijuana”.
Mr Sessions was also accused of calling a black assistant US attorney ”boy” and labelling the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People ”un-American” and ”communist-inspired.”
Mike Pompeo – CIA Director
The hardline Republican Congressman has been nominated to become the United States’ new spymaster.
Mr Pompeo, 52, was offered the job of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director even though he backed US President-elect Donald Trump’s rival, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, in the party’s presidential primary race.
The three-term tea party Republican from Wichita, Kansas, is a vehement critic of the Obama administration’s nuclear deal with Iran and has defended the National Security Agency’s bulk data collection programme.
He also opposes closing Guantanamo Bay and, after visiting the prison in 2013, he remarked that some inmates who had declared a hunger strike looked like they had put on weight.
Mr Pompeo said in a statement he was ”honoured and humbled” to accept the nomination, noting that it was a ”difficult decision” to leave his post.
Michael Flynn – National Security Adviser
The retired three-star US Army lieutenant-general was Mr Trump’s main national security adviser during the presidential campaign and has accepted an offer to stay on in the same role under Mr Trump’s administration.
The 57-year-old is credited for helping Mr Trump connect with veterans despite the candidate’s lack of military service.
Gen Flynn was the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, the US military spy agency, from 2012-14, but says he was forced out of the role because of his views on radical Islam.
In February, he said on Twitter, ”Fear of Muslims is RATIONAL” and he has published a book, The Field of Fight: How We Can Win the Global War Against Radical Islam and Its Allies.
Gen Flynn has been a life-long Democrat and a registered member of party but was heard chanting ”lock her up” against Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton at Trump rallies.
During the campaign, he also pilloried the Obama administration’s approach to the threat posed by the Islamic State (IS) group.
Gen Flynn has said the US should work more closely with Russia in Syria to combat IS. He has been criticised for his repeated appearances on RT, the Russian state television network.
Reince Priebus – Chief of Staff
Mr Trump’s White House gatekeeper is 44 years old.
As chairman of the Republican National Committee, he was a bridge between the Republican nominee and a party establishment that was embarrassed by its own presidential standard-bearer.
But he has never held elected office and brings no policy experience to the White House in a role serving as a liaison to cabinet agencies.
Mr Priebus is close to House Speaker Paul Ryan, a fellow Wisconsinite, who could be instrumental in steering the new administration’s legislative agenda.
Nikki Haley – Secretary of State?
South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley has emerged as contender for secretary of state, along with another formerly vocal critic of the property mogul, ex-Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.
Ms Haley first backed Florida Senator Marco Rubio and later Texas Senator Ted Cruz before she finally threw her support behind Mr Trump during the campaign season.
The 44-year-old daughter of Indian immigrants, is the first minority and female governor of South Carolina, a deeply conservative state with a long history of racial tension.
As the youngest governor in the US and only the second Indian-American to serve at the helm of a US state, she has been characterised as a rising star within the Republican Party.
Before becoming the state’s chief executive, she served six years as a member of the state’s House of Representatives.
But her biggest appearance on the national stage came last year when she had the Confederate battle flag removed from the Capitol.
Mitt Romney – Secretary of State?
Mitt Romney would be a surprise entrant into Mr Trump’s inner circle. Earlier this year, Mr Romney – who served as Massachusetts governor and lost the 2012 election to Barack Obama – said the billionaire had neither ”the temperament nor the judgement to be president”.
Mr Trump responded by calling him a ”choke artist” and a ”failed candidate” – but then invited him to meet in New Jersey as he assessed possible candidates for top Cabinet posts.
Vice-President-elect Pence, Mr Trump’s transition manager, said the two had held ”a cordial meeting”, adding that Mr Romney was ”under active and serious consideration” for the role of America’s top diplomat.
While some of Mr Trump’s selections have raised eyebrows, Mr Romney, a Michigan-born Mormon who founded a very successful venture capital firm, would be seen by the Washington establishment as a competent and experienced appointee.
Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff called him a ”consummate diplomat” but said he did not believe Mr Trump was serious. ”It’s more of a nod to the appearance of bringing people together,” he said.
James Mattis – Secretary of Defense?
James Mattis, a retired Marine Corps general, has emerged as Mr Trump’s most likely defence chief. In a tweet after the two men met, Mr Trump called the 66-year old ”very impressive”, adding: ”A true General’s General!”
Gen Mattis served in the Marine Corps for 44 years, fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. A counterinsurgency expert, he played a key role in fighting in Falluja in 2004.
From 2010 to 2013 he led US Central Command, which covers an area from the Horn of Africa into Central Asia and includes all US military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
He is known for his blunt comments. In 2005 he was criticised after saying – in reference to Afghan men who ”slap women around… because they didn’t wear a veil” – that ”it’s a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them”.
But he is also described as a popular leader well-liked by those he commanded, and an avid reader of literature on warfare.
Gen Mattis retired in 2013 and if Mr Trump does appoint him, the law that bans military officers from serving as defence chief for seven years after leaving active duty will have to be waived.
Chris Christie – out in the cold?
The New Jersey governor was the first former presidential candidate to endorse Mr Trump, sending shockwaves through the Republican Party establishment and lending legitimacy to the upstart New Yorker’s campaign.
By backing the winning horse in February, the 54-year-old Christie made Mr Trump’s vice-presidential shortlist and at the very least appeared well positioned for various posts in the administration.
His star has lost significant lustre recently, however, as he was unceremoniously replaced as the head of Mr Trump’s presidential transition team, with his allies being removed from positions of influence.
This fall from grace can be partially attributed to Mr Christie’s seeming reluctance to campaign with or speak out in support of Mr Trump in the controversy-filled final month the campaign.
It also may be due to the recent convictions of two of his top New Jersey aides involved in a scandal over the closure of a major bridge linking New Jersey and New York City, allegedly to punish a local mayor.
Since presidential cabinet appointments must go before the Senate, confirmation could be problematic while this cloud hangs over him.
Steven Mnuchin – Treasury Secretary?
Mr Trump himself floated the idea of naming his finance chairman for the post of treasury secretary.
But it is unclear whether Mr Trump’s supporters would welcome the idea of handing the levers of national tax policy to a consummate Wall Street insider.
Mr Mnuchin amassed a fortune during his 17 years at Goldman Sachs before founding a movie production company that was behind such box office hits as the X-Men franchise and American Sniper.
However, a Trump aide has also confirmed they have asked JPMorgan boss Jamie Dimon to be US Treasury Secretary; it’s not clear how he responded.
Stephen Bannon – Chief Strategist
Though not a cabinet appointment, Mr Bannon, 62, could wield immense influence behind the scenes as one of Mr Trump’s key advisers.
The Breitbart News executive will be the president’s senior counsellor, though he will work as ”equal partners” with Mr Priebus, creating twin power bases in the West Wing.
A number of critics have accused Mr Bannon, a former Goldman Sachs banker, of promoting extreme views.
The firebrand conservative helped transform Breitbart into the leading mouthpiece of the party’s fringe, anti-establishment wing.
The combative site serves up an anti-establishment agenda that critics accuse of xenophobia and misogyny. Under Mr Bannon, it has become one of the most-read conservative news and opinion sites in the US.
Born in Virginia in 1953, Mr Bannon spent four years in the navy before completing an MBA at Harvard. He then went into investment banking and, after a spell with Goldman Sachs, moved successfully into media financing.
He shifted into film production, working in Hollywood before branching out into independent political documentary making, paying homage to former US President Ronald Reagan, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and the Tea Party movement.
Through this work he met Andrew Breitbart, a staunchly conservative media entrepreneur who wanted to create a site that challenged what he saw as liberal-dominated mainstream media.
When Andrew Breitbart died of a heart attack in 2012, Mr Bannon took over as head of Breitbart News and drove it forward.
Kellyanne Conway – White House Press Secretary?
The 49-year-old Republican strategist and veteran pollster was promoted as Mr Trump’s third campaign manager in August as part of another staff shake-up.
She has been praised as the ”Trump whisperer” and became the first woman to run a successful US presidential campaign.
Ms Kelly joined Mr Trump’s team in July after working for a super PAC that supported Mr Trump’s primary rival, Senator Ted Cruz.
She has spent most of her career helping conservative politicians court female voters through her company, The Polling Company Inc./Woman Trend.
Hope Hicks – Senior Adviser?
Ms Hicks, 27, served as Mr Trump’s press secretary and handled media requests during his campaign.
The fashion model-turned-spokeswoman previously worked as a publicist for Ivanka Trump’s fashion label before entering politics with Mr Trump’s bid for the White House.
Though she rarely speaks in public, Ms Hicks handled most of Mr Trump’s campaign communications on her own until the New York businessman hired more staff over the summer.
Dan Scavino – director of White House social media?
Mr Scavino and Ms Hicks were two of the only aides to remain by Mr Trump’s side during the many staff shake-ups throughout his tumultuous campaign.
He ran Mr Trump’s social media operations and was recently named the president-elect’s director of social media for his transition team.
Mr Scavino first met the New York billionaire as a teenage caddie working at one of Mr Trump’s golf courses and later rose to a senior position within the Trump Organization.
Stephen Miller – National Policy Adviser?
Mr Miller, 30, was a top aide to Senator Sessions before he joined the campaign.
He often warmed up crowds before Mr Trump took the stage at rallies on the campaign trail and was recently named the national policy director for Mr Trump’s transition team.
He was considered a ”behind-the-scene architect of the successful effort to kill comprehensive immigration reform in 2014”, according to a Politico profile of Mr Miller earlier this year.
Jason Miller – White House Communications Director?
He was recently named Mr Trump’s communications director for his transition team, but served as a senior communications adviser throughout his campaign.
Mr Miller was a top aide to Senator Ted Cruz during his presidential campaign before he joined Mr Trump’s team.
His hire was seen as a move to bulk up his communications team and help Ms Hicks, who largely handled media relations on her own.
Mr Miller has previously consulted on Republican campaigns including Mr Giuliani’s 2008 White House bid as well as for Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin and South Carolina Representative Mark Sanford.
A former model, born in Slovenia, Melania married Donald Trump in January 2005.
She stood by her husband after video footage emerged during the campaign in which he boasted about groping women. In July 2016 she made headlines after making a speech at the Republican National Convention, which she was accused of plagiarising from one made by Michelle Obama in 2008.
In an October interview with CNN, the 46-year-old was asked what she would change about her husband. She replied: ”His tweeting”.
Perhaps the best-known of Donald Trump’s children, the only daughter of his marriage to Ivana, his first wife. A model in her early years, she is now a vice-president at The Trump Organization and was also a judge on her father’s reality TV show The Apprentice.
Her brother Donald Junior says Ivanka, 35, is the favourite child and is referred to as ”Daddy’s little girl”.
She has been given a level of authority in the family business that none of his wives have ever had and she is said to handle some of the company’s biggest deals.
She also has her own fashion brand, with the motto #womenwhowork.
She converted to Judaism after marrying Jared Kushner in 2009.
As a successful businesswoman and mother, she appealed to female voters who may have been put off by some of Mr Trump’s comments about women.
In a speech to the Republican National Congress, she backed her father to support women’s rights: ”As a mother myself, of three young children, I know how hard it is to work while raising a family. And I also know that I’m far more fortunate than most. American families need relief. Policies that allow women with children to thrive should not be novelties, they should be the norm.”
Ivanka’s husband is the son of a prominent New York property developer and has been the owner of the weekly Observer paper in New York for 10 years.
The quietly spoken 35-year-old has become one of Mr Trump’s closest advisers. He exerted a powerful influence over the Trump campaign – including digital strategy and top-level hires – and looks set to carry that clout into the White House.
Usually camera-shy and happy to operate behind the scenes, Mr Kushner is a vastly wealthy property developer and publisher. He owns 666 Fifth Avenue, a skyscraper a few blocks down from Trump Tower, and in 2006, at just 25, he bought the once-venerable New York Observer newspaper.
He has not been given an official position within the Trump administration but Mr Kushner has been named alongside three of Mr Trump’s children in the transition team and he is said to have the president-elect’s ear.
An Orthodox Jew, he is reported to have angered members of his own family when he wrote a defence of Donald Trump’s use of the Star of David in a tweet attacking Hillary Clinton.
Jared Kushner was born and raised in comfort in Livingston, New Jersey, alongside two sisters and a brother. His grandparents had escaped Poland during the war, arriving in the US in 1949, and his father Charles made his fortune as a New Jersey property mogul.
The young Jared won a place at Harvard despite poor grades, according to Daniel Golden, author of The Price of Admissions: How America’s Ruling Class Buys Its Way into Elite Colleges. In the year of his admission, according to Mr Golden’s book, Charles Kushner donated $2.5m to the university, along with similar one-off donations to Cornell and Princeton.
Mr Kushner and Mr Trump share a complete lack of political experience, but Mr Trump has praised his son-in-law for being ”very good at politics” and appears to trust his judgement. When controversial campaign manager Corey Lewandowski was fired from the campaign in June, it was reported that Mr Kushner, having clashed with Mr Lewandowski, had pushed for him to get the chop.
In contrast to his father-in-law, Mr Kushner is said to be a calm and composed personality, camera-shy and reluctant to be in the forefront. He is also slight, softly-spoken, and looks young even for his 35 years. But his extensive involvement with the Trump campaign and reported bond with the president-elect suggest he could become an outsize influence in Washington.
Donald Trump’s daughter by his second wife Marla Maples is a former actress and TV personality.
The 23-year-old is an avid user of both Twitter and Instagram, where her posts depict a glamorous lifestyle.
She kept a relatively low profile during the election campaign and is not thought to have the same input or influence as her siblings.
But she earned her father’s praise for her ”fantastic” convention speech, in which she said her father was a ”natural-born encourager”.
Donald Trump Jr
Donald Trump’s eldest son from his first marriage to Ivana. Now executive vice-president of The Trump Organization, the 38-year-old married Vanessa Haydon after being introduced to her at a fashion show by his father.
His rise has not been free from controversy. His and brother Eric’s taste for hunting big game was criticised after photos emerged showing them posing with dead animals including a leopard and a crocodile. Donald Jr was also holding the severed tail of an elephant.
The third child of Mr Trump’s marriage to Ivana. Like his siblings, he is also an executive vice-president of the Trump Organization.
He is president of the Trump Winery in Virginia and oversees Trump golf clubs. In 2006, he also set up the Eric Trump Foundation, which has pledged $28m to a research hospital which helps children battling life-threatening diseases.
He may have broken the law on election day by tweeting a picture of his ballot paper, saying it was an ”incredible honour to vote for my father”.