The Corner

A Superb Cabinet

There are some idiosyncratic choices in there and some I would have done differently (Rex Tillerson obviously wasn’t my preference at State), but overall, Trump is assembling a team that is very encouraging to conservatives.

How will they fare in confirmation? The Left will make a hard run at Jeff Sessions but the case that he is a racist is absurdly threadbare and Senate Democrats have been perfectly happy to work closely with him for decades, so I don’t see a real threat to him at the end of the day; Scott Pruitt will cause an epic freakout, but it’s hard to see why Republicans would break with him; Tillerson is going to get a real thorough vetting, but I imagine he’s going to be impressive in individual meetings with senators and I doubt he will be in serious jeopardy unless he commits a major gaffe in his hearings or if critics excavate something from Exxon-Mobil’s dealings overseas that is scandalous or can be portrayed as scandalous.

My darkhorse candidate for a nominee who could go down is Steve Mnuchin. I’m guessing his business during the financial crisis will provide a target-rich environment for Democrats; he is a pick who plays into the Left’s narrative that this is a cabinet of plutocrats assembled by a faux populist; and Mnuchin doesn’t have friends on Capitol Hill or establishment backers like Tillerson, who has recommendations by the likes of Condi Rice and Bob Gates in his back-pocket.