With the news cycle travelling at light-speed at the moment, it’s easy to forget that the Senate is currently fulfilling one of its most important roles — vetting and voting on the President-elect’s cabinet nominees.
Trump’s 21 cabinet nominees have to be approved by the Senate before they can be confirmed. With a Republican majority in the upper house (52/100), Trump might feel safe. But the incoming President is not a traditional Republican and a few of his nominees face fierce opposition from within his own party.
Each nominee must sit through a hearing in which they are questioned — and sometimes grilled — by a Senate committee. So far, Jeff Sessions (Attorney General nominee) and Rex Tillerson (Secretary of State nominee) have had their hearings, though neither have been voted on yet.
before the Senate confirms or rejects any of the nominees, here are our odds on a few of the nominations.
Odds Trump’s cabinet nominees are approved by the Senate
Rex Tillerson (Secretary of State): 1/1
Tillerson is the outgoing chairman of ExxonMobil. Though he has no political experience, he does have strong ties within government, both domestically and internationally. He has connections within the Republican party and was recommended by Condoleezza Rice and Dick Cheney.
A few prominent Republicans, including Marco Rubio and John McCain, have lampooned him for his close ties to Vladimir Putin. With the Democrats strongly opposing the choice of Tillerson, it’s essential for Trump that the Republicans fall in line and approve his nominee.
Jeff Sessions (Attorney general): 7/13
Jeff Sessions is a hardliner on immigration, a vocal opponent of Roe v. Wade, and has been accused of being a racist by Democrats. It’s hard to imagine many Democrats voting to approve Sessions, but with a Republican-controlled Senate, that shouldn’t be much of an issue.
Steven Mnuchin (Secretary of Treasury): 3/7
The former Goldman Sachs banker is another Trump pick with no political experience. As Secretary of Treasury, he plans to implement “the largest tax change since Reagan” and has made tax reform his number one priority.
Again, this will be extremely unpopular among Democrats, but it is music to the Republicans’ ears.
James Mattis (Secretary of Defense): 1/19
James “Mad Dog” Mattis earned his nickname due to his blunt, no-nonsense style of speaking. But despite his unpolished style, he has a lot of support from both Capitol Hill and the military. Trump has quite a few controversial nominations, but “Mad Dog” Mattis isn’t one of them.
Photo credit: “William Munoz” by Tillerson CC BY-SA 2.0 [http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0], via Flickr.