Everything you want to know about the Trump Cabinet confirmation hearings – Washington Post

Confirmation hearings for President-elect Donald Trump’s Cabinet and other nominees will come fast and furious starting the second week of January. Here’s your guide to the details:

WHO: Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.)

NOMINATED FOR: Attorney general

WHEN AND WHERE: 9:30 A.M. on Jan. 10, 11; Senate Judiciary Committee (Russell Senate Office Building, Room 325)

ARGUMENT FOR: Trump has praised Sessions, a longtime adviser and supporter, as a “world-class legal mind.” First elected in 1996, Sessions previously served as a U.S. attorney and attorney general for Alabama. He has earned praise from Democrats who work with him.

ARGUMENT AGAINST: Accusations of racism have dogged Sessions’s career. He was denied a federal judgeship in 1986 after former colleagues testified he used the n-word and said the Ku Klux Klan were “okay” until he realized they smoked marijuana.


WHO: Rex Tillerson

NOMINATED FOR: secretary of State

WHEN AND WHERE: tentatively scheduled for Jan. 11; Senate Foreign Relations Committee (Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 423)

ARGUMENT FOR: Trump sees Tillerson, who joined ExxonMobil in 1975 and now serves as CEO, as the “embodiment of the American dream.” Trump has praised his “tenacity, broad experience and deep understanding of geopolitics.” As a global business leader, Tillerson has experience dealing with heads of state around the world, including in Russia, Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

ARGUMENT AGAINST: Tillerson has no experience in the public sector, received the Order of Friendship from Russian President Vladimir Putin and brings along potential conflicts of interest from his business career. It’s also unclear whether he supports sanctions against Russia implemented after its U.S. sanctions implemented against Russia in 2014 over its annexation of the Crimea and Moscow’s support for separatists in the Ukraine.


WHO: Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.)


WHEN AND WHERE: Jan. 11; Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (Hart Senate Office Building, Room 211)

ARGUMENT FOR: Pompeo, who was elected to the House in 2010, serves on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. A graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, he served as a U.S. Army cavalry officer before founding an aerospace company — a varied record that Trump favors. He was praised as “bright and hard-working” by Democratic colleague Adam Schiff (Calif.).

ARGUMENT AGAINST: Pompeo has no meaningful experience in espionage. He is seen as a fierce partisan on issues like the 2012 Benghazi attacks and the leaks by Edward Snowden, a tendency some CIA veterans fear could bias his judgment.


WHO: Betsy DeVos

NOMINATED FOR:  Education secretary

WHEN AND WHERE: 10 A.M. on Jan. 11; Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 430)

ARGUMENT FOR: To supporters of school voucher programs, DeVos is a champion: a billionaire conservative activist, she has spent millions of programs to expand them around the country. Trump called her a “brilliant and passionate education advocate.”

ARGUMENT AGAINST: DeVos has no professional experience in schools and no traditional experience in education policy. Detractors say her views pose an unprecedented threat to the public school system as a civic institution.



WHO: Gen. John Kelly, USMC (Ret.)

NOMINATED FOR: Homeland Security secretary

WHEN AND WHERE: 2 P.M. on Jan. 11; Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs (Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 342)

ARGUMENT FOR: A widely respected and long-serving military officer, Kelly oversaw operations in Central and South America as commander of the U.S. Southern Command. Trump praised him as the “right person to spearhead the urgent mission of stopping illegal immigration” and experienced in stopping drug and human trafficking.

ARGUMENT AGAINST: The choice of Kelly raised questions about Trump’s desire to surround himself with military generals, and Kelly has a blunt manner that can bring him into conflict with other leaders. Detractors have raised concerns about his past comments questioning the Pentagon order opening jobs in combat units to women.


WHO: Elaine Chao

NOMINATED FOR: Transportation secretary

WHEN AND WHERE: 10:15 A.M. on Jan. 11; Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation (Russell Senate Office Building, Room 253)

ARGUMENT FOR: Chao previously served as deputy secretary at the Department of Transportation and secretary of the Department of Labor, giving her expansive insight into the workings of federal bureaucracy. Trump praised her “expertise,” “strong leadership” and personal background as a former immigrant to the United States.

ARGUMENT AGAINST: The nomination of Chao, a consummate Washington insider married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), defies Trump’s promise to surround himself only with people from outside government.


WHO: Wilbur Ross

NOMINATED FOR: Commerce secretary

WHEN AND WHERE: 10 A.M. on Jan. 12; Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation (Russell Senate Office Building, Room 253)

ARGUMENT FOR: Trump praised Ross, a billionaire investor who made his fortune restructuring distressed companies, as a “champion of American manufacturing” and “one of the greatest negotiators I have ever met.” Supporters hope his experience as a turnaround specialist will boost jobs and reinvigorate troubled U.S. industries.

ARGUMENT AGAINST: Ross’s record of buying and restructuring troubled businesses sometimes involved layoffs and budget cuts. He is a hard-line supporter of renegotiating or withdrawing from free trade agreements, a stance that puts him in conflict with free-markets Republican orthodoxy.


WHO: Ben Carson

NOMINATED FOR: Housing and Urban Development secretary

WHEN AND WHERE: 10 A.M. on Jan. 12; Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs

ARGUMENT FOR: Carson started his career as a highly accomplished surgeon before turning his attention to politics. His many fans on the conservative right cite cite his religious faith and rags-to-riches personal story as factors behind their support. Trump has called Carson “brilliant” and a “tough competitor.”

ARGUMENT AGAINST: Carson has no experience in public policy and no particular expertise in housing issues. He is known for promoting outlandish theories, including that prison makes inmates gay and that the pyramids were originally constructed to store grain.


WHO: Andy Puzder

NOMINATED FOR: Labor secretary

WHEN AND WHERE: tentatively scheduled for Jan. 12; Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions

ARGUMENT FOR: Puzder, a successful businessman, is CEO of CKE Restaurants, the parent company of Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. Trump said he has “created and boosted the careers of thousands of Americans.”

ARGUMENT AGAINST: Detractors point to Puzder’s opposition to the Affordable Care Act, federal rules that would make more workers eligible for overtime pay and substantially raising the minimum wage to argue he should not lead the Labor Department. His ex-wife accused him of beating her — Puzder denies any physical abuse — in their 1986 divorce proceedings. He has also faced criticism for his company’s use of racy and suggestive advertising.


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