Trump reportedly is considering multiple Texans for Cabinet posts
BY ALEX DAUGHERTY
Donald Trump, American's unconventional president-elect, will likely
fill his Cabinet with a Texan or two, recognizing the state that gave
him his biggest swath of support Tuesday night.
Trump could go the traditional route and nominate Republican former Gov.
Rick Perry for a top position in the administration, either as secretary
of agriculture or secretary of commerce.
"I think Perry is an absolutely logical appointee," said Jim
Riddlesperger, a Texas Christian University professor and Texas politics
expert. "He's the longest-serving governor in Texas history and has a
lot of experience in agriculture policy."
Trump could go rogue and appoint Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid
Miller, a little-known figure in national political circles who called
Hillary Clinton the c-word on Twitter last week.
"Sid Miller is a different kettle of fish," Riddlesperger said. "He has
less experience in state politics than Perry does and very little in
national politics. Because of his extraordinary conservative political
views and tweets, Sid Miller would have to jump a couple of hurdles to
get on a short list. It's probably unlikely, but that's just my
Miller said in an interview that he had not been officially contacted by
the Trump transition team, but he is "uniquely qualified" to become
secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
"I have real-world experience," Miller said. "I'm an eighth-generation
farmer and rancher and I'm very familiar with the USDA programs. In the
first 12 months of my administration we've been on six continents,
except Antarctica, promoting Texas agriculture."
But the list doesn't stop with Miller and Perry, who were both
agriculture advisers with the Trump campaign.
There's the deep bench of powerful Texans in the House of
Representatives, where the vast majority of the state's 25 Republicans
enthusiastically supported Trump during the campaign and honed their
policy chops under a Democratic-controlled White House.
Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Dallas, the chair of the House Financial Services
Committee, is reportedly under consideration for treasury secretary
under Trump. Hensarling has served in Congress since 2003 and led
opposition to the 2010 Dodd-Frank law, which brought significant
regulations to the financial sector.
Hensarling told The Wall Street Journal he would "certainly have the
discussion" if Trump's team called him, but he said, "It is not
something I am pursuing. . . . I think I'm in a pretty good position now
to advance the cause."
Trump campaign spokeswoman Katrina Pierson, who rose to prominence in
North Texas tea party circles, could also play a role in the
president-elect's White House.
Sen. John Cornyn could be in the mix for attorney general, Riddlesperger
said. The position already has seen a number of high-profile Trump
supporters, like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former New York
Mayor Rudy Giuliani, actively lobby for the post.
"Cornyn has experience and stature in Washington," Riddlesperger said.
But certain kinds of inside-the-Beltway experience could be a nonstarter
for Trump's team as they seek to drain Washington's "swamp."
Miller certainly is not part of the swamp. He's spent his entire
political career in Texas, and he made news with his off-color social
media postings, including the calling Clinton the c-word and suggesting
the Middle East should be nuked.
"I did not post that," Miller said of the Clinton tweet. "I've explained
that dozens and dozens of times. Within 15 minutes we took that down and
I apologized. I think it's hypocritical the media jumped all over that
for two weeks, when Democrats did it first. They printed up and sold
T-shirts that said Sarah Palin is the c-word in 2008. The protesters
went to Republican rallies. For Democrats to do that, go after me for
one little mistake, is very hypocritical."
A woman who created the shirts described herself as a Libertarian and
Barack Obama supporter, not a Democrat, when contacted in 2008.
Miller would be the first Texan to serve as secretary of agriculture. He
said he'd met with Mexican officials for trade discussions and would
have the support of Texas' large congressional delegation.
"I agree with Donald Trump on a lot of things," Miller said. "Of course,
trade is big for agriculture. I want to open up foreign markets to ag
commodities. There's not one commodity turning a profit right now. We
need to sell China beef, sorghum, soy."
Miller doesn't want to eliminate the North American Free Trade
Agreement, but he wants to see major changes.
"NAFTA needs to be reworked," Miller said. "We don't need to just throw
it away, we need to take that document and improve on it. We need to win
He also wants to open up trade with Cuba, a recently unthinkable policy
position for many Republicans. President Obama promised to lift the
Cuban trade embargo earlier this year.
"We need to open up to Cuba," Miller said. "It's 90 miles off our coast
and they're buying up their commodities from Europe. I have been very
aggressive on trade."
Perry would be a more conventional choice for a Cabinet post. The former
governor is well-liked in Texas despite two failed presidential runs and
a lackluster performance on "Dancing with the Stars."
"He has a lot of experience in ag policy," Riddlesperger said. "Perry is
famous as governor for running Texas Enterprise Fund, which made him a
little unpopular in some of the other states for luring jobs to his
state. It gives him the gravitas you might want in a commerce secretary."
Riddlesperger said Perry would likely withstand the Senate's
confirmation process because he'd had his life scrutinized while serving
as governor and running for president.
Trump will need to inspire confidence in a deeply divided electorate
with his Cabinet picks, along with someone who is up for the job, even
if they don't conform to Trump's "outsider" mantra.
"Regardless of what your rhetoric is, being in the Cabinet is a
Washington job," Riddlesperger said.
Alex Daugherty: 202-383-6049, @alextdaugherty
Source: Donald Trump considering Rick Perry and Sid Miller for cabinet |
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