PRESIDENT DONALD J. TRUMP INAUGURATION
VICE PRESIDENT: As President of the Senate, the Vice President is responsible for casting a vote in the event of a Senate deadlock, and residing over and certifying the official vote count of the U.S. Electoral College. He is also a statutory member of the National Security Council, and is first in the presidential line of succession.
MIKE PENCE: Current Governor of Indiana. A conservative and a supporter of the Tea Party movement, he had previously represented Indiana’s 2nd congressional district and Indiana’s 6th congressional district in the United States House of Representatives from 2001 to 2013. In July 2016, Mike was named the Republican Party nominee for Vice President of the United States in the 2016 election. Born into a Catholic family with political leanings, he became interested in politics at an early age due to the influence of his family. As a young man, he idolized former President John F. Kennedy and was later inspired by Ronald Reagan. He went on to graduate from Hanover College and earned his J.D. from Indiana University School of Law following which he ventured into a legal career. Mike began a career in radio talk in the 1990s even as he tried to enter politics. Mike Pence began his career as an attorney in private practice. Around this time he also tried to enter into politics and ran unsuccessfully for a congressional seat in 1988 and 1990. He did not give up though and was able to become the president of the Indiana Policy Review Foundation in 1991. In 1994, Mike began a career in talk radio and hosted ‘The Mike Pence Show’, which was based in WRCR-FM in Rushville. Syndicated by Network Indiana, the show was aired on weekdays on 18 stations throughout the state. Starting from 1995, he also hosted a weekend political talk show out of Indianapolis. He ended his broadcast career in the late 1990s and ran for Congress again in 2000, this time getting elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in Indiana’s 2nd Congressional District. Over the course of his political career he was re-elected four more times by comfortable margins. Pence served as the chairman of the Republican Study Committee, a group of conservative House Republicans, from 2005 to 2007. His increasingly successful career prompted Pence to announce in 2011 that he would seek the Republican nomination for governor of Indiana in 2012. In November 2012, Mike won the gubernatorial election, defeating Democratic nominee John R. Gregg and Libertarian nominee Rupert Boneham. He was sworn in as the 50th governor of Indiana on January 14, 2013.
SECRETARY OF STATE: Advises the President on foreign-policy issues, works to carry out the country’s foreign policy, maintains relations between foreign countries and the United States, negotiates treaties and agreements with foreign nations, speaks for the United States in the United Nations and other major international organizations, and supervises embassies, missions, and consulates overseas.
REX TILLERSON: A native of Wichita Falls, Texas, Rex Tillerson earned a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering at the University of Texas at Austin before joining Exxon Company, U.S.A. in 1975 as a production engineer. In 1989, he became general manager of Exxon Company U.S.A.’s central production division, responsible for oil and gas production operations throughout a large portion of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Kansas. In 1992, Mr. Tillerson was named production advisor to Exxon Corporation. Three years later he was named president of Exxon Yemen Inc. and Esso Exploration and Production Khorat Inc., and in January 1998 became vice president of Exxon Ventures (CIS) Inc. and president of Exxon Neftegas Limited. In those roles, he was responsible for Exxon’s holdings in Russia and the Caspian Sea as well as the Sakhalin I consortium operations offshore Sakhalin Island, Russia. In December 1999, he became executive vice president of ExxonMobil Development Company. Mr. Tillerson was named senior vice president of Exxon Mobil Corporation in August 2001, and was elected president of the corporation and member of the board of directors on March 1, 2004. He assumed his current position on January 1, 2006. Mr. Tillerson is a member of the executive committee and a former chairman of the American Petroleum Institute. He is also a member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers and a trustee of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He is a member of the National Petroleum Council, a member of the Business Roundtable, a member of the Business Council, an honorary trustee of the Business Council for International Understanding, and a member of the Emergency Committee for American Trade. In 2013, Mr. Tillerson was elected to the National Academy of Engineering. Mr. Tillerson is the vice-chairman of the Ford’s Theatre Society, immediate past national president of the Boy Scouts of America, and a former director of the United Negro College Fund. He is also a member of the Chancellor’s Council, Development Board and the Engineering Advisory Board for the University of Texas at Austin, where he was named a distinguished alumnus in 2007. In 2011, he received an honorary doctorate engineering degree from the Worcester Polytechnic Institute. In 2013, he was awarded the Order of Friendship by Vladimir Putin, president of the Russian Federation.
SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY: Reports to Congress and the President on the financial state of the government and the economy, regulates the interstate and foreign sale of alcohol and firearms. Supervises the printing of stamps for the U.S. Postal Service; operates the Secret Service, which protects the president, the vice president, their families, and other officials. Curbs counterfeiting, and operates the Customs Service, which regulates and taxes imports. Regulates tax laws and collects Federal taxes.
STEVEN MNUCHIN: Co-Founder, Co-Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Dune Capital Management LP. Mr. Mnuchin is the Finance Chairman of Trump campaign. Mr. Mnuchin co-founded OneWest Bank Group LLC in 2004 and served as its Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. He is a Founder of Dune Real Estate Partners LP. He was an Investment Professional of Soros Fund Management LLC. Prior to joining CIT, he was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of IMB Holdco LLC. Previously, he served as the Chief Executive Officer at SFM Capital Management from 2003 to 2004. While at SFM, he served as an Executive Vice President since February 2001 and Co-Chief Information Officer from February 2001 to December 2001. Mr. Mnuchin served as a Member of the Executive Office at SFM from December 1999 to February 2001. He was responsible for overseeing mortgages, U.S. governments, money markets and municipals in the fixed income, currency and commodities division from December 1998 to November 1999. From November 1994 to December 1998, Mr. Mnuchin served as the Head of the Mortgage Securities Department at SFM. Prior to SFM, he served as the Chief Information Officer at The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. since December 2001. He spent 17 years at Goldman Sachs where he was a Partner. He has extensive experience in investing and financing the entertainment business. He has financed major blockbusters such as American Sniper, Gravity, Avatar and Life of Pi. He has been the Non-Executive Co-Chairman of Relativity Media, LLC since October 2014. He served as the Chairman of CIT Bank, National Association. He served as the Chairman of OneWest Bank N.A. He had been Vice Chairman of ESL Investments, Inc. since 2003 and serves as its Director. He serves as Director of CIT Bank, National Association. He serves as a Director on the Yale Development Board. He is a Member of the Board of Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles (MOCA), New York Presbyterian Hospital, the Los Angeles Police Foundation, Life Trustee of New York Presbyterian Hospital and UCLA Health System Board. He served as an Independent Director of Sears Holdings Corporation from 2005 to December 2, 2016. He served as Vice Chairman of CIT Group Inc. from January 2, 2016 to March 31, 2016 and previously served in the same role from August 8, 2015 to December 12, 2015. He served as a Director of CIT Group Inc. from August 2015 to December 2, 2016. He is a Trustee of Sculpture Garden Board. He was a Board Member of Junior Achievement National Board, the Whitney Museum, the Hirshhorn Museum, City Harvest and Riverdale Country School. Mr. Mnuchin has a bachelor’s degree from Yale University.
SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Oversees everything related to the nation’s military security. Directs the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force, as well as the Joint Chiefs of Staff and several specialized combat commands. Nonmilitary responsibilities include flood control, development of oceanographic resources, and management of oil reserves.
JAMES MATTIS: Ccommanded at multiple levels in his forty-three year career as an infantry Marine. As a lieutenant in the western Pacific, he served as a rifle and weapons platoon commander in the Third Marine Division. As a captain in the Pacific and Indian Ocean, he commanded a rifle company and a weapons company in the First Marine Brigade. As a major he was the battalion officer at the Naval Academy Prep School and commanded Marine recruiters in the Pacific Northwest and Hawaii. As a lieutenant colonel he commanded an assault battalion breaching the Iraqi minefields in Operation Desert Storm. As a colonel he commanded 7th Marine Regiment and, on Pentagon duty, he served as the Department of Defense Executive Secretary. As a brigadier general he was the Senior Military Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of Defense. Following 9-11 he commanded the First Marine Expeditionary Brigade and Naval Task Force 58 in operations against the Taliban in southern Afghanistan. As a major general, he commanded the First Marine Division during the initial attack and subsequent stability operations in Iraq. In his first tour as a lieutenant general, he was in charge of Marine Corps Combat Development at Quantico and subsequently served as Commander, I Marine Expeditionary Force/Commander, U.S. Marine Forces in the Middle East. As a general he served concurrently as the Commander of U.S. Joint Forces Command and as NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander for Transformation. Before retiring in 2013 he was the Commander of U.S. Central Command, directing military operations of over 200,000 soldiers, sailors, airmen, Coast Guardsmen, Marines and allied forces across the Middle East. He is co-editor of the book, Warriors & Citizens: American Views of Our Military.
ATTORNEY GENERAL: Chief law officer and legal counsel of the federal government, who runs the Department of Justice. Supervises U.S. district attorneys and marshals, federal prisons and other penal institutions, and advises the President on petitions for paroles and pardons. Represents the U.S. government in legal matters and gives legal advice to the President and other members of the Cabinet. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, which researches violations of federal laws, and the Immigration and Naturalization Service, which administers immigration laws, are components of his department.
JEFF SESSIONS: Appointed by President Reagan as the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama in 1981. After holding this position for twelve years, Reagan nominated Sessions as judge for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District. His nomination was rejected by the Senate, so he ran a successful campaign for Attorney General of Alabama in 1994, and served for two years before being elected to the U.S. Senate in 1996. He was re-elected by substantial majorities in 2002, 2008, and most recently in 2014. Sessions currently serves on the Senate Budget; Armed Services; Judiciary; and Environment and Public Works Committees. Sessions was recently described by the Washington Times as “a tea partyer before the tea party was cool because of his unflinching and vocal conservative views on most fiscal and social issues.” Sessions is an unwavering social conservative and has been a staunch advocate for the death penalty, Second Amendment rights, the Defense of Marriage Act, and religious liberty. Sessions served as Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee from 2009-2011, during which he led opposition to the nominations of Justices Sotomayor and Kagan to the Supreme Court. Throughout his tenure as a member of the Judiciary Committee, he has led the conservative opposition against any form of amnesty or immigration reform that provides benefits or favor to illegal aliens. He is a longtime advocate of E-Verify, a system used to verify a potential employee’s citizenship, and continues to advocate for its mandatory use nationwide. In January 2011, he was named Ranking Member of the Senate Budget Committee. In this capacity, he led the Republican charge against Majority Leader Harry Reid and Barack Obama for not offering a serious budget proposal, given that the Senate had not passed a budget since April 2009. He has fought guerilla warfare, often a lonely battle, against Democrats spending by raising budget point of orders against the breach of budget caps. He has even fought his own party when his office put out devastating research against the Ryan-Murray budget deal. Sessions has also been a strong leader on welfare reform and publishing studies and data on the extent of the welfare state.
SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR: Protects the natural environment and develops the country’s natural resources. Manages more than 300 parks, monuments, rivers, seashores, lakes, outdoor recreation areas, and historic sites. Oversees more than 400 wildlife refuges, research centers, wildfowl production areas, and fish hatcheries. Supervises economic development and environmental protection of millions of acres of public land. Responsible for the following U.S. territories: the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, the Trust Territory of Palau, and the Freely Associated States (Republic of the Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia).
RYAN ZINKE: Serves the people of Montana as their sole Representative in the United States House. He also holds a Masters in Business Finance and a Masters in Global Leadership from the University of San Diego. Ryan is a fifth generation Montanan, former state senator, and a 23-year U.S. Navy SEAL veteran. In 2014, Ryan became the first Navy SEAL elected to the House. He serves on the House Armed Services Committee and the House Committee on Natural Resources. Ryan’s distinguished military career began in 1985 when he graduated from Officer Candidate School and attended SEAL training (class 136). He was first assigned to SEAL Team ONE in Coronado, CA, then was later selected to SEAL Team SIX where he was a Team Leader, Ground Force Commander, Task Force Commander and Current Operations Officer in support of National Command Authority missions. In Operation IRAQI FREEDOM, Ryan was assigned as Deputy and acting Commander, Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force-Arabian Peninsula where he led a force of over 3,500 Special Operations personnel in Iraq. In 2006 he was awarded two Bronze Stars. Throughout his career, Ryan also served as the Special Operations Officer in Europe, and served as the SEAL Commander of Joint Task Force TWO in support of Special Operations missions in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia and Kosovo. Ryan’s final Naval assignment was establishing the Naval Special Warfare Advanced Training Command where he served as “Dean” of the Naval Special Warfare graduate school with a staff of over 250 educators, which provided over 43 college level courses to over 2500 students annually at 15 different locations worldwide. He retired from active duty 2008 after serving 23 years as a US Navy SEAL. In 2008, Ryan was elected to the Montana State Senate, where he chaired the Senate Education Committee and served on the Senate Finance and Claims Committee. He was a proud recipient of numerous awards from the Montana Chamber of Commerce and the Rural School Association.
SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE: Supervises agricultural production to make sure prices are fair for producers and consumers, helps farmers financially with subsidies and development programs, and helps food producers sell their goods overseas. Runs food assistance and nutrition programs.
SONNY PERDUE: Born in Perry, Georgia to a lifelong farmer and a classroom teacher, Sonny earned a doctorate in veterinary medicine from the University of Georgia. While still in school, he volunteered to serve his country in the U.S. Air Force, receiving an honorable discharge in 1974 with the rank of captain. Following a brief tenure as a practicing veterinarian, he started two businesses from the ground up, concentrating in agribusiness and transportation. Sonny was also a respected leader in his church and his community when he decided to enter public service. His political career began in the 1980s when he served on the Houston County Planning and Zoning Board. He then successfully ran for the state senate, becoming majority leader in just four years, followed by his election as president pro tempore. He spent the next 11 years representing his Middle Georgia district in the General Assembly. Sonny left the State Senate in 2001 to begin his gubarnatorial campaign. In January 2003, he became the first Republican to serve as Georgia’s governor since 1872. During his first term, Georgia created over 200,000 new jobs and posted the highest graduation rate and SAT scores in state history. Sonny won reelection by an overwhelming margin in November 2006. As governor, Sonny focused on improving education, providing better access to health care, creating quality jobs for Georgians, and increasing resources for stronger, safer communities.
SECRETARY OF COMMERCE: Promotes international trade, economic growth, and technological advancement. Works to keep the United States competitive in international markets and to prevent unfair foreign trade practices. Gathers statistics for business and government planners.
WILBUR ROSS: Independent Director at Ocwen Financial Corp., Chairman at NBNK Investments Plc, Independent Director at Navigator Holdings Ltd., Independent Director at EXCO Resources, Inc., Independent Director at Sun Bancorp, Inc. (New Jersey), Independent Director at Talmer Bancorp, Inc., Independent Director at BankUnited, Inc., Non-Executive Chairman at International Automotive Components Group SA, Independent Non-Executive Director at ArcelorMittal SA, Non-Executive Chairman at International Textile Group, Inc., Founder, Chairman & Chief Strategy Officer at WL Ross & Co. LLC, a Director at News Communications. Inc. Mr. Ross was previously employed as Independent Director by Air Lease Corp., Chief Executive Officer by SpiceJet Ltd., Chairman by Plascar Participações Industriais SA, Chairman by ISG, Inc., Non-Executive Chairman by ICG, Inc., Non-Executive Chairman by International Coal Group, Inc., Chairman by Burlington Industries, Inc., a Managing Director by Rothschild, Inc., Chairman by Cone Mills Corp., Chairman by Invesco Ltd., Chairman by Palm Beach Firefighters Retirement Fund, and Chairman by Smithsonian Institution. He also served on the board at Greenbrier Cos., Inc., Montpelier Re Holdings Ltd., Safety Components International, Inc., Mittal Steel Co. NV, International Steel Group, Inc., Syms Corp., Oxford Automotive Europe ApS, VTG AG, Nikko Electric Industry Co., Ltd., ArcelorMittal NV, TongYang Life Insurance Co., Ltd., British American Business, Inc., Wagon Plc, Briarcliffe, Inc., Clarent Hospital Corp., IAC Acquisition Corp. Ltd., Phoenix International Corp., Turnaround Management Association, and Whitney Museum of American Art. Mr. Ross received his undergraduate degree from Yale University and an MBA from Harvard University.
SECRETARY OF LABOR: Protects the rights of workers, helps improve working conditions, and promotes good relations between labor and management. Tracks changes in employment, prices, and other national economic statistics.
ANDREW PUZDER: Chief executive of CKE Restaurants. He received his juris doctorate in 1978 from Washington University School of Law in St. Louis where he served as senior editor on the Law Review. From 1978 through 1991, Puzder was a commercial trial lawyer in St. Louis. From 1978 through 1983, he was an associate at the law offices of St. Louis attorney Morris Shenker who he represented in various matters. In 1984 he moved to The Stolar Partnership in St. Louis and worked with Charles A Seigel, another St. Louis area trial attorney. Puzder has served as president and CEO of CKE since September 2000 While practicing law in St. Louis, Puzder authored legislation which The United States Supreme Court upheld in Webster v. Reproductive Health Services in 1989. Following the Webster decision Puzder was a founding member of the Common Ground Network for Life and Choice. Also while practicing law in St. Louis, Puzder met Carl Karcher, the founder of the Carl’s Jr. quick-service restaurant chain. Karcher was embroiled in serious financial difficulties and asked Puzder to move to California as his personal attorney. In 1991, Puzder relocated to Orange County, California. Puzder has been credited with resolving Karcher’s financial dilemma, allowing Karcher to avoid bankruptcy and retain a significant ownership interest in the company he founded, CKE Restaurants, Inc. (CKE). In 1995, Puzder went on to become Executive Vice President and General Counsel for Fidelity, managing one of the largest corporate legal departments in the country. In 1997, Puzder was also named Executive Vice President and General Counsel for CKE. Also in 1997, CKE purchased Hardee’s Food Systems, Inc., which owned the Hardee’s quick-service restaurant brand. Hardee’s was a distressed brand and CKE was burdened by over $700 million in debt following the acquisition. The company underperformed and its market capitalization dropped to about $200 million. Faced with serious financial and operational issues, CKE’s Board of Directors named Puzder as president and CEO of Hardee’s Food Systems in June 2000 and named him president and CEO of CKE Restaurants, Inc. in September of that year. Puzder is credited with turning around both the Hardee’s brand and CKE, allowing the company to survive, become financially secure and return to growth. Puzder currently owns or franchises over 3,700 restaurants in the United States and 40 foreign countries, generates $1.4 billion in annual revenue and, with its franchisees, employs over 75,000 people in the U.S. In 2011, he was appointed to serve on the National Advisory Board of Washington University School of Law. In 2013, he was elected as a director of the International Franchise Association’s Board of Directors. Puzder is a National Council Co-Chair of the American Enterprise Institute. In 2010, he co-wrote the book Job Creation: How It Really Works and Why Government Doesn’t Understand It. Puzder is a frequent author on economic and legal issues in periodicals such as The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Real Clear Politics, CNBC online, National Review, Puzder is a member of the Job Creators Network, a nonpartisan organization opposing government overregulation. Puzder also served as a Delegate to the 2012 Republican National Convention and as the Chairman of the Platform Committee’s Sub-Committee on the Economy, Job Creation and the Debt.
SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES: Administers Social Security, which provides income to retirees and the disabled, and funds Medicare, a health-insurance program for persons over 65 years of age, and Medicaid, which helps states pay for medical care for the poor. Offers social services for poor families, Native Americans, children, the elderly, migrants, refugees, and the handicapped. Oversees institutes dealing with mental health and substance abuse; the Centers for Disease Control, which work to control preventable and infectious diseases; the National Institutes of Health, which conduct research on cancer, AIDS, child health and aging, and other issues; and the Food and Drug Administration, which ensures the safety of the nation’s food supply and tests and approves all drugs.
TOM PRICE: First elected to represent Georgia’s 6th district in November 2004. Prior to going to Washington, Price served four terms in the Georgia State Senate – two as Minority Whip. In 2002, he was a leader in the Republican renaissance in Georgia as the party took control of the State Senate, with Price rising to become the first Republican Senate Majority Leader in the history of Georgia. In Congress, he serves on the House Committee on Ways and Means. In the 114th Congress, Price was named Chair of the House Committee on the Budget. In previous Congresses, he has served as Chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee and Chairman of the Republican Study Committee. Committed to advancing positive solutions under principled leadership, Price has been a fierce opponent of government waste and devoted to limited government and lower spending. For nearly twenty years, Rep. Price worked in private practice as an orthopaedic surgeon. Before coming to Washington he returned to Emory University School of Medicine as an Assistant Professor and Medical Director of the Orthopedic Clinic at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, teaching resident doctors in training. He received his Bachelor and Doctor of Medicine degrees from the University of Michigan and completed his Orthopaedic Surgery residency at Emory University.
SECRETARY OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT: Promotes community development, administers fair-housing laws, and provides affordable housing and rent subsidies.
BEN CARSON: Born in Detroit, Michigan, when Benjamin Carson was only eight, his parents divorced, and Mrs. Carson was left to raise Benjamin and his older brother Curtis on her own. She worked at two, sometimes three, jobs at a time to provide for her boys. In fifth grade, Carson was at the bottom of his class. His classmates called him “dummy” and he developed a violent, uncontrollable temper. Mrs. Carson was determined to turn her sons’ lives around, so she sharply limited the boys’ television watching and refused to let them outside to play until they had finished their homework each day. She required them to read two library books a week and to give her written reports on their reading even though, with her own poor education, she could barely read what they had written. Within a few weeks, Carson astonished his classmates by identifying rock samples his teacher had brought to class. He recognized them from one of the books he had read. “It was at that moment that I realized I wasn’t stupid,” he recalled later. Carson continued to amaze his classmates with his newfound knowledge and within a year he was at the top of his class. The hunger for knowledge had taken hold of him, and he began to read voraciously on all subjects. He determined to become a physician, and he learned to control the violent temper that still threatened his future. After graduating with honors from his high school, he attended Yale University, where he earned a degree in psychology. From Yale, he went to the Medical School of the University of Michigan, where his interest shifted from psychiatry to neurosurgery. His excellent hand-eye coordination and three-dimensional reasoning skills made him a superior surgeon. After medical school he became a neurosurgery resident at the world-famous Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. At age 32, he became the hospital’s Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery, a position he would hold for the next 29 years. In 1987, Dr. Carson made medical history with an operation to separate a pair of Siamese twins. The Binder twins were born joined at the back of the head. Operations to separate twins joined in this way had always failed, resulting in the death of one or both of the infants. Carson agreed to undertake the operation. A 70-member surgical team, led by Dr. Carson, worked for 22 hours. At the end, the twins were successfully separated and can now survive independently. Dr. Carson’s other surgical innovations have included the first intra-uterine procedure to relieve pressure on the brain of a hydrocephalic fetal twin, and a hemispherectomy, in which an infant suffering from uncontrollable seizures has half of its brain removed. This stops the seizures, and the remaining half of the brain actually compensates for the missing hemisphere. In addition to his medical practice, Dr. Carson has long been in constant demand as a public speaker, and devotes much of his time to meeting with groups of young people. In 2008, President George W. Bush awarded Dr. Carson the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor. Dr. Carson’s books include a memoir, Gifted Hands, and a motivational book, Think Big.
SECRETARY OF TRANSPORTATION: Sets the nation’s transportation policy. Jurisdictions include highway planning, development and construction; aviation; urban mass transit; railroads; and the safety of waterways, ports, highways, and oil and gas pipelines. Supervises the Coast Guard, which is responsible for search and rescue at sea and the enforcement of laws that protect oceans and waterways from oil spills and other pollution.
ELAINE CHAO: The 24th U. S. Secretary of Labor who served from 2001-2009, is the first American woman of Asian descent to be appointed to a President’s Cabinet in our nation’s history. She is the longest tenured Secretary of Labor since World War II, and the only member of President Bush’s original cabinet to have served the entire eight years of his Administration. Under her leadership, the U.S. Department of Labor achieved record results in protecting the health, safety, wages, and retirement security of the nation’s workforce. Secretary Chao’s distinguished career spans the public, private and non-profit sectors. As President and Chief Executive Officer of United Way of America, she restored public trust and confidence in one of our nation’s premier charitable institutions after it had been tarnished by financial mismanagement and abuse. As Director of the Peace Corps, she established the first programs in the newly liberated Baltic nations and the independent states of the former Soviet Union. Her government service also includes serving as Deputy Secretary at the U.S. Department of Transportation, Chairman of the Federal Maritime Commission, Deputy Maritime Administrator, and White House Fellow. Prior to her government service, she was Vice President of Syndications at BankAmerica Capital Markets Group and a banker with Citicorp in New York. Secretary Chao earned her MBA from the Harvard Business School and an economics degree from Mount Holyoke College. She also attended the 12-college Exchange program at Dartmouth College and Columbia University summer school. Recognized with innumerable awards for her public and community service, she is the recipient of 36 honorary doctorate degrees from colleges and universities across the globe.
SECRETARY OF ENERGY: Responsible for the research and development of energy technology, energy conservation, the civilian and military use of nuclear energy, regulation of energy production and use, and the pricing and allocation of oil. Sets standards to reduce the harmful effects of energy production.
RICK PERRY: Upon graduating from Liberty University in 1972, Perry was commissioned in the U.S. Air Force and flew C-130 tactical aircraft in the United States, Middle East and Europe. He was discharged with the rank of captain and returned to west Texas to help on his family ranch in 1977. After years as a cotton farmer, Perry jumped into politics in 1985 when he entered the state House of Representatives. Despite being a Democrat, Perry voted for Ronald Reagan in 1980 and 1984 but supported Al Gore’s presidential bid in 1988. In 1989, Perry switched parties and became a Republican. The following year he ran and won in the election for agriculture commissioner, a role in which he promoted the sale of Texas farm produce to other states and foreign nations. After serving two terms as agriculture commissioner, Perry ran for lieutenant governor and became the state’s first Republican lieutenant governor since Reconstruction. Upon George W. Bush’s election to the presidency, Perry assumed the Texas governorship in 2000. He has since won three re-elections as governor, even defeating popular Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison in the primary election in 2010. Perry also served as the chairman of the Republican Governors Association from 2010 to 2011.
SECRETARY OF EDUCATION: Administers more than 150 federal education programs, including student loans, migrant worker training, vocational education, and special programs for the handicapped.
BETSY DEVOS: Chairman of the Windquest Group, a privately held investment and management firm based in Michigan with a diversified consumer product and service portfolio. Active in politics for more than 35 years, Betsy was elected chairman of the Michigan Republican Party four times, and she has served in numerous leadership roles with campaigns, party organizations, and political action committees. Today, her political efforts are focused on advancing educational choices. Betsy is also active in her community. She currently chairs both the American Federation for Children and The Philanthropy Roundtable board of directors and serves on a number of other national and local boards including ArtPrize, American Enterprise Institute, Foundation for Excellence in Education, and the DeVos Institute for Arts Management at the University of Maryland. A graduate of Holland Christian High School, Betsy received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Her current board and leadership positions include Chairman of the The Windquest Group, Chairman of the American Federation for Children, Board Member of the Alliance for School Choice, Board Member of ArtPrize, Board Member of the Philanthropy Roundtable, Board Member of the Foundation for Excellence in Education, Board Member of the DeVos Institute for Arts Management, Board Member of the Great Lakes Education Project, and Advisory Board Member of The Potter’s House School.
SECRETARY OF VETERANS AFFAIRS: Provides benefits and services to veterans and their dependents. Offers pensions, education, rehabilitation, home loan guarantees, burial, compensation payments for disabilities or death related to military service, and a medical care program.
DAVID SHULKIN: Serves as President of Morristown Memorial Hospital and Morristown Medical Center, and Executive Director of Primary Care Partners, LLC. He also serves as Atlantic Vice President of Primary Care Partners, LLC. and has served as Chief Medical Officer and a Senior Member of the hospital’s management team at Temple University Hospital since March 2004. At Temple, David helped develop a comprehensive error reduction program and implemented numerous efficiency and clinical management programs that have had positive impacts on the hospital’s clinical outcomes and long-range financial strategy. He served as Vice President of Atlantic Health System, Inc until July 2015, and is Chief medical Officer and Chief Quality Officer of the University of Pennsylvania Health System. David was Chief Medical Officer of the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, and the Medical College of Pennsylvania Hospital. He served as Chief Executive Officer and President of Mount Sinai Beth Israel, and was the founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of DoctorQuality, Inc. and served as its Chief Executive Officer. While at Penn, David led the Health System in building its integrated delivery system through developing and managing disease management, quality systems, managed care operations, and medical management capabilities. He has established himself as one of the country’s leading experts in clinical management practices and administrative medicine, and he is a nationally acclaimed expert in healthcare quality improvement and clinical management. Prior to joining Temple, David served as the Chairman of the Board and Chief Quality Officer of Medicine for the Medical College of Pennsylvania Hospital (MCPH) and as Vice Dean of that hospital’s teaching affiliate, Drexel University School of Medicine and its Chairman of Medicine. He also serves as Director of ControlRad Systems, Inc. and has been Director of Applied Science Products, Inc. since January 2011. David is a Director of Data Driven Delivery Systems, LLC, IntelliRad Control, Inc. and SpectraMD USA, Inc, and serves as a Trustee of St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center. David also serves on the Editorial Boards of numerous journals including the Journal of the American Medical Association and Hospital Physician, as well as the Editorial Boards of the Journal of Safety, the Journal of Clinical Outcomes Management and the Journal of Disease Management. He is a Trustee of Continuum Health Partners, Inc. and an Ex-Officio Trustee of Mount Sinai Beth Israel. David has served in numerous national leadership roles, including the Board of the JCAHO’s Academy for Healthcare Quality and Managed Care and Information System companies. He is a board-certified internist and Professor of Medicine at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine and Albert Einstein School of Medicine, a Senior Fellow at the Health Research and Education Trust of the American Hospital Association and a Senior Fellows at the School of Population Health at Thomas Jefferson University. He is a Senior Fellow (Adjunct) at the Leonard Davis Institute in Health Economics at the University of Pennsylvania, and was named one of the country’s top Health Care Leaders for the next century by Modern Healthcare in 1997. David was also named an Emerging Leader in Health Care by the Healthcare Forum and Korn/Ferry International in 1998. In 2009, he was named one of the One Hundred Most Influential People in American Healthcare by Modern Healthcare and for the second year in a row was recognized among the “50 Most Powerful Physician Executives in the Country“ (ranked as #14 in 2009 and #12 in 2008) by Modern Healthcare and Modern Physician. David is a Fellow at the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics and the Institute on Aging at Penn, and is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians. He received advanced training in quality assessment, outcomes research, and cost-effective analyses as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania, and holds a Medical Degree from the Medical College of Pennsylvania. He completed his internship at Yale University School of Medicine, and his residency at the University of Pittsburgh Presbyterian Medical Center.
SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: Works to protect the country against terrorism. Includes 22 agencies and 170,000 employees. The Secret Service, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, and the Coast Guard are just a few of the agencies that come under the department.
JOHN KELLY: Born and raised in Boston, MA. Kelly enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1970, and was discharged as a sergeant in 1972, after serving in an infantry company with the 2nd Marine Division, Camp Lejeune, NC. Following graduation from the University of Massachusetts in 1976, he was commissioned and returned to the 2nd Marine Division where he served as a rifle and weapons platoon commander, company executive officer, assistant operations officer, and infantry company commander. Sea duty in Mayport, FL, followed, at which time he served aboard aircraft carriers USS Forrestal and USS Independence. In 1980, then Captain Kelly transferred to the U.S. Army’s Infantry Officer Advanced Course in Fort Benning, GA. After graduation, he was assigned to Headquarters Marine Corps, Washington, DC, serving there from 1981 through 1984, as an assignment monitor. Captain Kelly returned to the 2nd Marine Division in 1984, to command a rifle and weapons company. Promoted to the rank of Major in 1987, he served as the battalion’s operations officer. In 1987, Major Kelly transferred to the Basic School, Quantico, VA, serving first as the head of the Offensive Tactics Section, Tactics Group, and later assuming the duties of the Director of the Infantry Officer Course. After three years of instructing young officers, he attended the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and the School for Advanced Warfare, both located at Quantico. Completing duty under instruction and selected for Lieutenant Colonel, he was assigned as Commanding Officer, 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division, Camp Pendleton, CA. Holding this command position for two years, Lieutenant Colonel Kelly returned to the East Coast in 1994, to attend the National War College inWashington, DC. He graduated in 1995, and was selected to serve as the Commandant’s Liaison Officer to the U.S. House of Representatives, Capitol Hill, where he was promoted to the rank of Colonel. In 1999, Colonel Kelly transferred to joint duty and served as the Special Assistant to the Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, in Mons, Belgium. He returned to the United States in 2001, and was assigned to a third tour of duty at Camp Lejeune, now as the Assistant Chief of Staff G-3 with the 2nd Marine Division. In 2002, selected to the rank of Brigadier General, Colonel Kelly again served with the 1st Marine Division, this time as the Assistant Division Commander. Much of Brigadier General Kelly’s two-year assignment was spent deployed in Iraq. He then returned to Headquarters Marine Corps as the Legislative Assistant to the Commandant from 2004 to 2007. Promoted to major general, he returned to Camp Pendleton as the Commanding General, I Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward). The command deployed to Iraq in early 2008 for a year-long mission, replacing II Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward) as Multinational Force-West in Al Anbar and western Ninewa provinces. LtGen Kelly commanded Marine Forces Reserve and Marine Forces North from October 2009 to March 2011. General Kelly comes to United States Southern Command from his previous position as the Senior Military Assistant to the Secretary of Defense from March 2011 to October 2012.
DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: Serves as the top intelligence official in the United States government. Oversees what is known as the Intelligence Community, which consists of more than a dozen civilian and military agencies that collect information on threats against the United States. The 16 agencies include Air Force Intelligence, Army Intelligence, Central Intelligence Agency, Coast Guard Intelligence, Defense Intelligence Agency, Department of Energy, Department of Homeland Security, Department of State, Department of the Treasury, Drug Enforcement Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Marine Corps Intelligence, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, National Reconnaissance Office, National Security Agency, and Navy Intelligence.
DAN COATS: Born on May 16, 1943, Jackson, Michigan, Dan received his undergraduate degree from Wheaton College, then later, he went on to serve in the U.S. Army. Afterward, he received his law degree from Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law where he was associate editor of the Indiana Law Review. Dan went on to work for a life insurance company in Fort Wayne before joining the office of then-Congressman Dan Quayle as a district representative. He served in the United States Congress from 1981 to 1999. Dan was then elected to the Senate. During his time in Congress, Coats supported and publicized policies to reduce spending, decrease taxes and restructure entitlement programs. He was a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and Select Committee on Intelligence, working on strengthening national security. Dan left the Senate in 1999 and then he worked for the law firm named Verner, Liipfert, Bernhard, McPherson and Hand. He went on to serve as Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany in 2001. His role as Ambassador resulted in the construction of a new United States Embassy in the center of Berlin. After working as Ambassador, he was an attorney at the law firm of King & Spalding. Additionally, Dan has been a member of the board of many volunteer organizations such as the Center for Jewish and Christian Values, where he was a co-chair. He created The Foundation For American Renewal with his wife in order to continue their involvement with faith-based initiatives, and wrote the Project for American Renewal, a comprehensive initiative created to help resolve many of our nation’s social problems. Dan returned to the U.S. Senate in January 2011. On his return, he aimed to give top priority to reducing the national debt, cutting wasteful spending and promoting a pro-growth economic policy to put Hoosiers and Americans back to work. In the 114th Congress, he was a member of three Senate committees which include Select Intelligence, Finance and the Joint Economic Committee (JEC). Dan also served as chairman of the bicameral JEC and Finance Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy, Natural Resources, and Infrastructure.
DIRECTOR OF THE CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY: Collects intelligence through human sources and by other appropriate means, except that he shall have no police, subpoena, or law enforcement powers or internal security functions. Correlates and evaluates intelligence related to the national security and provides appropriate dissemination of such intelligence. Provides overall direction for and coordination of the collection of national intelligence outside the United States through human sources by elements of the Intelligence Community authorized to undertake such collection and, in coordination with other departments, agencies, or elements of the United States Government which are authorized to undertake such collection, ensuring that the most effective use is made of resources and that appropriate account is taken of the risks to the United States and those involved in such collection. Performs such other functions and duties related to intelligence affecting the national security as the President or the Director of National Intelligence may direct.
MIKE POMPEO: Three term congressman from the 4th District of Kansas. As a teenager, Mike enrolled at the United States Military Academy at West Point. He graduated first in his classin 1986 and then served as a cavalry officer patrolling the Iron Curtain before the fall of the Berlin Wall. He also served with the 2nd Squadron, 7th Cavalry in the Fourth Infantry Division. After leaving active duty, Mike graduated from Harvard Law School having been an editor of the Harvard Law Review. He later returned to his mother’s family roots in South Central Kansas and founded Thayer Aerospace, where he served as CEO for more than a decade providing components for commercial and military aircraft. He then became President of Sentry International, an oilfield equipment manufacturing, distribution, and service company. Mike serves on two major committees: Energy and Commerce, which oversees energy, health care, manufacturing, and telecommunications, and the House Intelligence Committee, which oversees America’s intelligence-gathering efforts. Earlier in 2014, he was also appointed to the House Select Benghazi Committee to investigate the tragic events in Benghazi, Libya. In Congress, Mike has focused on freeing private enterprise to succeed as well as defending our individual Constitutional rights.
ADMINISTRATOR OF THE SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION: Provides aid, usually in the form of loans, and counseling to assist and protect the interests of small business concerns. Helps Americans start, build, and grow businesses in the U.S. and its territories.
LINDA MCMAHON: After graduating from East Carolina University with a Bachelor’s degree in French and a certification to teach in 1969, Linda moved to Washington, D.C., where she worked as a paralegal at the law firm of Covington & Burling. In 1980 she became active in World Wrestling Federation, Inc. (renamed World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. in 1999), eventually becoming the company’s President, and later, Chief Executive Officer. In 2009, she left the WWE and was appointed to the Connecticut Board of Education. She then ran as a Republican for a seat in the United States Senate, but lost to Democratic Party nominee Richard Blumenthal in the general election. Linda was a delegate to the 2016 Republican National Convention from Connecticut, as well as a member of the RNC Rules Committee. She is also a Member of the Board of Trustees/Executive Committee at Sacred Heart University, Board Member of the Close Up Foundation, Founder of Get R.E.A.L. Educational and Literacy Programs, Chairman of the Institutional Advancement Committee at Sacred Heart University, Board Member of the Vince and Linda McMahon Family Foundation, and Member of the National Advisory Council for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
ADMINISTRATOR OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY: Develops and enforces environmental regulations imposed on state and local governments, as well as by private industry. Conducts environmental assessment, research, and education, and is responsible for maintaining and enforcing national standards under a variety of environmental laws.
SCOTT PRUITT: After earning his Bachelor’s Degree from Georgetown College and graduating from the University of Tulsa’s School of Law, Scott went into private legal practice, specializing in Constitutional Law. He then became co-owner and managing general partner of Oklahoma City’s Triple-A minor league baseball affiliate, the Oklahoma City Redhawks. Scott took over the team’s marketing operations and helped the team become one of the minor league leaders in attendance and merchandise sales. in 1998 he took on the political establishment and won a seat in the State Senate. As a Senator, Scott was tapped by then-Governor Frank Keating to be the point person on workers’ compensation reform. Eventually serving four years as Assistant Republican Floor Leader, he led the successful effort to pass the Religious Freedoms Act and was a key figure on legislation related to lawsuit reform and government accountability. In 2010, he became only the second Republican in Oklahoma history to serve as Attorney General. Recognized for his effective leadership, he served two terms as president of the Republican Attorneys General Association. In addition to leading the fight to dismantle the Affordable Care Act (chronicled in Josh Blackman’s upcoming book Unraveled), Pruitt has led the litigation that halted President Obama’s three major second term executive initiatives. First, Pruitt led a coalition of thirty states who have obtained an injunction barring the EPA’s “Waters of the United States” rule, which seeks to greatly expand the federal governments regulatory jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act. Second, Pruitt was a leader of the nearly thirty state coalition of states who obtained an injunction barring the President’s DAPA program for illegal immigrants. The constitutional arguments that General Pruitt developed and which are at the core of that challenge are highlighted in John Yoo and Dean Reuter’s recently released book, Liberty’s Nemesis: the Unchecked Expansion of the State, which contains a chapter authored by Pruitt titled “Preemption without Representation,” which explains why Obama’s executive actions violate the Constitution. Lastly, Pruitt has led a nearly thirty state coalition of states who obtained an unprecedented injunction from the Supreme Court barring the EPA’s “Clean Power Plan” from going into effect. The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board noted that “Oklahoma AG Scott Pruitt deserves particular credit for developing the federalist arguments and exposing how the Clean Power Plan commandeers states. ” In addition to his work in the litigation arena, General Pruitt has also started an initiative that he’s dubbed “The State Overreach Project,” an effort designed to ensure that while pushing back against overreach by the federal government, the States also work to reduce regulatory and licensing burdens at the state and local level.
UNITED STATES TRADE REPRESENTATIVE: Develops and recommends trade policy to the President of the United States, conducting trade negotiations at bilateral and multilateral levels, and coordinating policy within the government through the interagency Trade Policy Staff Committee and Trade Policy Review Group.
ROBERT LIGHTHIZER: A law partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, L.L.P, Robert is the leader of the firm’s International Trade Department. He divides his time between traditional trade litigation, policy advice and legislative initiatives. His clients include large U.S. corporations and coalitions. He represents heavy manufacturing, agricultural and high-tech companies, as well as financial services institutions. He has been lead counsel in scores of antidumping and countervailing duty cases during the last several years and is currently active in numerous pending cases and administrative reviews. In recent years he has also focused on market-opening trade actions on behalf of U.S. companies seeking access to foreign markets. He is equally at ease devising strategies for and dealing with executive departments and Congressional committees. Robert was a Deputy United States Trade Representative with the rank of Ambassador during the Reagan Administration. The USTR is the cabinet level agency that develops and coordinates trade policy on behalf of the United States Government and negotiates on trade matters for the President. He had responsibility within the USTR for industry, agriculture, investment and trade policy matters. During his tenure, Robert was involved in all the important trade issues. He regularly attended and chaired subcabinet policy meetings and often attended cabinet meetings when the USTR was unavailable. In addition, he negotiated some two dozen bilateral international agreements on subjects ranging from steel to grain. Robert frequently participated in General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (now the World Trade Organization) and Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development meetings. He also served as Vice Chairman of the Board of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation. OPIC is the U.S. Government agency whose purpose is to promote economic growth in developing countries through U.S. investment. Prior to his appointment as Deputy USTR, Robert was chief of staff of the United States Senate Committee on Finance. The committee has jurisdiction over international trade, taxation, Social Security and health and welfare programs. During his tenure, Congress passed the basic economic legislation of the Reagan-Bush Administration, as well as the legislation implementing the Tokyo Round multilateral trade negotiations. Robert remains active in national politics, most recently as Treasurer of the 1996 Republican Presidential Campaign. He speaks and writes often in the United States and abroad on trade and tax issues, politics and other developments in Washington. Robert serves on the boards of charitable and political groups. He holds a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center and B.A. from Georgetown University.
AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: Represents the United States on the U.N. Security Council and during almost all plenary meetings of the General Assembly, except in the rare situation in which a more senior officer of the United States (such as the U.S. Secretary of State or the President of the United States) is present.
NIKKI HALEY: After attending Orangeburg Preparatory Schools, Nikki joined Clemson University, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting. She then took up a position in FCR Corporation, a waste management and recycling company. Eventually she joined her mother’s business, Exotica International, an upscale clothing firm, in 1994. The business soon grew on to become a highly successful multimillion-dollar company. in 2004 Nikki ran for a seat in the South Carolina House of Representatives. She faced a challenge in the primary from incumbent Republican Larry Koon but went on to win the primary. She ran unopposed in the general election and won it to become the first Indian-American to hold office in South Carolina. In 2005 she was elected chair of the freshman caucus and majority whip in the South Carolina General Assembly. She successfully ran for re-election in 2006 and 2008. Ever ambitious, Nikki successfully ran for the seat of Governor of South Carolina in 2010 and assumed office in 2011. She was re-elected in 2014.
WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: Oversees the Executive Office of the President (EOP) of the United States. Duties vary greatly in each administration, according to the needs and desires of each president. The position typically plays both a managerial and advisory role that encompasses several important functions: Select and supervise key White House staff, control access to the Oval Office and the president, manage communications and information flow, and negotiate with Congress, executive branch agencies, and external political groups to implement the president’s agenda. He also oversees and coordinates the efforts of the following offices within the EOP and White House Office: Council of Economic Advisers, Council on Environmental Quality, Executive Residence, National Security Staff, Office of Administration, Office of Management and Budget, Office of National Drug Control Policy, Office of Science and Technology Policy, Office of the United States Trade Representative, Office of the Vice President, Domestic Policy Council, National Security Advisor, National Economic Council, Office of Cabinet Affairs, Office of the Chief of Staff, Office of Communications, Office of Digital Strategy, Office of the First Lady, Office of Legislative Affairs, Office of Management and Administration, Oval Office Operations, Office of Presidential Personnel, Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs, Office of Scheduling and Advance, Office of the Staff Secretary, and Office of the White House Counsel.
REINCE PRIEBUS: Obtained a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and English in 1994 from University of Wisconsin-Whitewater where he was student body president. After graduation, Reince served as a clerk for the Wisconsin State Assembly Education Committee. He then enrolled at the University of Miami School of Law in Coral Gables, Florida. While studying for his law degree, he worked as a clerk for the Wisconsin Court of Appeals, the Wisconsin Supreme Court, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. He also interned at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund in California. In 1998, Reince graduated with a J.D. degree cum laude from the University of Miami after serving as president of the Law School Student Body. He then moved back to Wisconsin and became a member of the State Bar. Subsequently, Reince joined Wisconsin law firm Michael Best & Friedrich LLP, where he became a partner in 2006, practicing in the firm’s litigation and corporate practice groups. in 2007, he was elected state GOP party chair, the youngest person ever elected to that position. While working at Michael Best & Friedrich in 2008, Reince was named as one of Wisconsin Super Lawyers magazine’s “Rising Stars” and was included in the Milwaukee Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” list. In 2009, he became general counsel of the RNC under chairman Michael Steele. Reince continued as Wisconsin party chairman and general counsel to the RNC until late 2010 when he sent a letter to all 168 voting members of the RNC announcing his candidacy for chairman. On January 14, 2011, Reince was elected chairman of the Republican National Committee.
NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Serves as the chief in-house advisor to the President of the United States on national security issues. Also participates in National Security Council meetings and usually chairs the Principal Committee meetings with the Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense (i.e., the meetings not attended by the President).
MICHAEL FLYNN: A retired Army Lieutenant General, Mike began his career as a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division. A career intelligence officer, he has over a decade of Signals Intelligence and Electronic Warfare assignments as well as numerous other Airborne, Special Operations, Conventional and Interagency intelligence assignments. Mike serves as an Advisor at Conversion Capital LLC. He also serves as Vice Chairman at Drone Aviation Holding Corp. and has been its Director since December 6, 2016. He has been a Member of Public Sector Advisory Council at Palo Alto Networks, Inc. since February 12, 2015, and has served as a Member of Strategic Advisory Board at Drone Aviation Holding Corp. since May 10, 2016. Mike served in the United States Army for more than 33 years. His career includes serving as the Director of U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency, Commander of the Joint Functional Component Command for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance and Chair of the Military Intelligence Board. Earlier, Mike served as Assistant Director of National Intelligence. He has also served in a number of operational roles, with numerous combat arms, conventional and special operations senior intelligence assignments and also served as the senior intelligence officer for the Joint Special Operations Command. He is a published author, speaker and media personality, with numerous articles, OPEDs and interviews appearing in various U.S. and international media outlets. His first book, published by St. Martin’s Press, is titled The Field of Fight – How We Can Win The Global War Against Radical Islam and Its Allies. Mike is the recipient of the US Intelligence Community’s Gold Seal Medallion, the Service to America Award from the Federal Law Enforcement Foundation, the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, the US Coast Guard Distinguished Public Service Award, the 2015 William Casey Medal of Honor and the first non-Navy recipient of the distinguished RADM Edwin T. Layton Award, as well as numerous other medals and awards for his service to nation. In 2010, Mike co-authored and published the influential report, “Fixing Intel: A Blueprint for Making Intelligence Relevant in Afghanistan,”. He is frequently called upon to testify to Congress on a variety of national security related matters. He has also lectured at numerous colleges and universities to include Duke, Harvard, Cambridge, Dartmouth and Yale. Mike graduated from the University of Rhode Island with a Bachelor of Science degree in management science in 1981 and was commissioned a distinguished military graduate through the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps. He holds three masters degrees (an MBA in Telecommunications, a MMAS in the Military Arts and Sciences and a Masters in National Security Studies) as well as two honorary doctorates (Laws from The Institute of World Politics and Human Letters from The University of Rhode Island), along with numerous other military, law enforcement, intelligence and international awards and honors.
WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: Advises the President on all legal aspects of policy questions, legal issues arising in connection with the President’s decision to sign or veto legislation, ethical questions, financial disclosures, and conflicts of interest during employment and post employment. Also helps define the line between official and political activities, oversees executive appointments and judicial selection, handles Presidential pardons, reviews legislation and Presidential statements, and handles lawsuits against the President in his role as President, as well as serving as the White House contact for the Department of Justice.
DONALD MCGAHN: Attended the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland followed by the University of Notre Dame in Indiana. He graduated in 1991 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and computer applications, then earned his J.D. from Widener University School of Law in 1994. Donald also studied briefly at Georgetown University Law Center. He practiced law at the Patton Boggs international law firm in Washington, D.C., serving as chief counsel for the National Republican Congressional Committee from 1999 to 2008. Donald was nominated to the Federal Election Commission in 2008 by then President George W. Bush, an office he held from July 2008 until his resignation in September 2013. During his tenure, Donald oversaw a number of changes in campaign finance laws, and is credited with loosening regulations on campaign spending. He rejoined Patton Boggs as partner in 2013, and then became a partner at Jones Day law firm in 2014. Donald also served as campaign counsel to Donald Trump during his 2016 bid for president of the United States.
DIRECTOR OF THE OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET: Assists the President in overseeing the preparation of the Federal budget, evaluates the effectiveness of agency programs, policies and procedures, and works to make sure that agency reports, rules, testimony, and proposed legislation are consistent with the President’s Budget and with Administration policies. Oversees and coordinates the Administration’s regulatory, procurement, financial management, information technology, and information management policies.
MICK MULVANEY: Elected to the U.S. Congress in November, 2010 from South Carolina’s 5th District, Mick is a lifelong Carolinas resident. He attended Georgetown University where he graduated with honors in International Economics, Commerce, and Finance. After college, Mick attended law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He completed his formal education at Harvard Business School’s OPM program in 2006. He is a serial entrepreneur, having started four businesses, and has private sector experience across many fields, including law, real estate, homebuilding, and restaurants. Mick has also been a columnist for his local paper and an occasional college lecturer. He currently serves on the House Financial Services Committee as well as the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. He previously served on the Committee on Small Business and the Budget Committee. Mick has been active in his home state as a founding member of the Indian Land Rotary, a youth baseball coach, a member of St. Philip Neri Catholic Church, and founding member of Our Lady of Grace Catholic Mission.
CHIEF STRATEGIST: Responsible for assisting the President of the United States with developing, communicating, executing, and sustaining strategic initiatives.
STEPHEN BANNON: Received his MBA from Harvard University, and his undergraduate degree from Virginia Polytechnical Institutes College of Architecture. He has a graduate degree in Government from Georgetown University as well as a Masters of Arts from Georgetown University. Stephen serves as the Executive Chairman of Breitbart News Network, LLC, as well as the Chief Executive Officer of American Vantage Media Corporation and Affinity Media. He is a Partner of Societe Gererale, one of the largest talent management companies in the entertainment business, and was Chief Executive Officer of American Vantage Media Corp., a wholly-owned subsidiary of American Vantage Companies, from May 1, 2004 to March 2005, also serving as its President until March 2005. Stephen served as the Chief Executive Officer and President of Genius Products, Inc. since February 2005, and from January 2004 to April 2004, he provided executive and management services to American Vantage as a Consultant. From April 2002 to December 2003, Stephen was Head of Strategic Advisory Services for The Firm, a leading talent management company in the entertainment and media industries. He then served as a Managing Director and Head of media and entertainment investment banking at Jefferies & Company Inc., an institutional brokerage and investment bank for middle market growth companies, from July 2000 to April 2002. Stephen served as Chief Executive Officer of Bannon & Co. Inc., an investment banking firm specializing in the entertainment, media and communications industries, from April 1990 to July 1998. Prior to this, he was employed by SG Cowan Securities Corporation from July 1998 to March 2000. He has been the Chairman of Genius Products, Inc. since September 30, 2005 and is its Director since March 2005. Stephen served as Chairman of Points International Ltd. from February 15, 2007 to November 2009. From December 1993 to October 1996, he served as First Look Media Inc.’s Chairman of the Board. Previously, he served as Co-Chairman of Genius Products Inc. until September 2005. Stephen was Vice-Chairman of First Look Media Inc. from October 1996 to June 2000, and has been Director of Points International Ltd. since February 2007. He served as a Director of SinoFresh HealthCare Inc. from September, 2003 to March 12, 2007, and as a Director of American Vantage Companies from May 2002 to March 2005. Stephen was a Trustee of American Academy of Dramatic Arts, and has served as a Director of SARS Corporation since October 2007. He served as a Director of First Look Studios Inc. from December 1993 to February 2004.
WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Responsible for collecting information about actions and events within the president’s administration, issuing the administration’s reactions to developments around the world, and providing daily briefings for the news media.
SEAN SPICER: Has a diverse and extensive background including senior positions on Capitol Hill and political campaigns, the top ranks of the administration and over a decade of military public affairs service. He has been communications director of the Republican National Committee since 2011, and chief strategist since February 2015. A founder and partner at Endeavour, Sean has earned praise for his dynamic, creative and effective media events that have taken place on every continent, including 24 countries. Prior to joining Endeavour, Sean served as the Assistant United States Trade Representative (USTR) for Media and Public Affairs within the Executive Office of the President of the United States from July 2006 through January 2009. As a member of the senior executive service, Sean was the administration’s point person for creating and implementing the domestic and international media strategy on trade issues. From May 2005 to July of 2006 Sean served as the as the Communications Director for the House Republican Conference in the U.S. House of Representatives, the leadership office charged with creating and overseeing communications and messaging. During his time at the Conference he oversaw the training of members of Congress and over 220 press secretaries. Under Sean’s leadership, the Conference held the first ever “bloggers row” where members of Congress were able to disseminate the message of the day to large gatherings of political and issue-oriented bloggers. While serving as the Communications Director of the House Budget Committee from January 2003 to May 2005, Sean ensured the committee’s defined message was disseminated in all public activities and documents. During the 2000 election cycle, Sean served as the Director of Incumbent Retention at the National Republican Congressional Committee where he oversaw the re-election strategies and plans of over 220 members of Congress. He has also served as the top communicator for the House Government Reform Committee; members of Congress from New Jersey and Florida; and several local and congressional political campaigns. Sean is a commissioned officer in the U.S. Navy (Reserves) and currently is the Director of the Navy Public Affairs Center Atlantic Reserve Unit in Norfolk, Virginia. His insights and activities have earned him recognition and awards from general and flag officers in the US and Sweden. Sean has been a leading source for national and international reporters. He has worked with and been quoted by every major news source including the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, International Herald Tribune, Jiji News EFE, Reuters, Bloomberg, Associated Press and he has appeared on National Public Radio, BBC Radio, AgriTalk Radio, Marketplace Radio, CNBC, Fox Business Network, Al-Jeezera, Reuters TV and Bloomberg TV. He has been a featured speaker at the Close-Up Foundation for over fifteen years, previously was elected by his peers in the House of Representatives to serve as the president of the Republican Communications Association and has taught media relations and on-camera skills to US and foreign national government and military officials. He currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the National Defense Committee. In 2004, he was elected to represent Virginia in the Electoral College. Sean was educated at Portsmouth Abbey School, and is a graduate of Connecticut College. In 2012, he received a master’s degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College in Newport.
APPOINT AN ATTORNEY GENERAL WHO WILL PROSECUTE HILLARY CLINTON
Hillary Clinton represents everything that is wrong with the American political class. She epitomizes establishment corruption and wanton criminality, and to ignore her blatantly felonious behavior is to condone it.
REPEAL & REPLACE OBAMACARE
Of all the ruinous policies enacted by the previous administration, none is so egregious and universally despised as The Affordable Care Act. It must be eradicated like the cancer that it is and replaced with a free-market-based alternative as soon as humanly possible.
BUILD THE WALL
This is the primary reason why Donald Trump was elected president, make no mistake about it, and while its construction will not, in and of itself, put an end to illegal immigration, it will symbolize a seriousness of intent with respect to border security that has been sorely lacking in our government for decades.
APPOINT ORIGINALISTS TO THE FEDERAL JUDICIARY
When it comes to our nation’s highest courts, there are essentially two types of judges who oversee them, originalists and activists. Activistic judges believe that our Constitution is a “living, breathing” document that they are free to modify from the bench at any time and for any reason they concoct. As for originalist judges, I think Justice Antonin Scalia put it best when he said: “Our manner of interpreting the Constitution is to begin with the text, and to give that text the meaning that it bore when it was adopted by the people.”
SLASH TAXES ON BUSINESS & RENEGOTIATE INTERNATIONAL TRADE DEALS
Reinvigorating the U.S. economy cannot occur without radically reducing taxes on the companies which make up its foundation. Business taxes amount to taxes on all Americans – be they CEOs, employees, stockholders or consumers – and trillions of dollars have been lost to our economy over the years due to government’s insistence on inflicting punitive taxation upon our nation’s most productive citizens. Adding insult to injury, pro-globalist trade policies like NAFTA have served to accelerate the decline of America’s economic vitality, and any attempts to reverse the trends of the past few decades without addressing these key points will prove futile.
DRASTICALLY CUT GOVERNMENT SPENDING & REGULATION
Cutting government spending begins with downsizing the bureaucracies infesting it. This can be done through attrition, which simply means not hiring new federal employees to replace the ones who retire for an extended period of time. Beyond that, there are scores of agencies which should be eliminated entirely, like the departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Labor, Housing & Urban Development, and the EPA for starters. Furthermore, federal regulations have become so pervasive that reducing their number by 50 percent would still leave the Federal Register with nearly 100,000 pages of growth-killing rules. Yes, certain regulatory powers must be exercised in order to stop bad people from doing harm to the rest of us, but when nanny-state know-it-alls in Washington DC decide to start telling the rest of us how much water we can use to flush our toilets or what sort of bulbs we can screw into our light fixtures, they’ve engaged in the sort of conduct that our founding fathers would have taken up arms to oppose.
By Edward L. Daley
Was his instruction do everything you possible can at every junction to embarrass the United States? Check David Cameron giving him the stink eye.
HT: Daily Mail
The White House website has censored a video of French Pres. Francois Hollande saying that “Islamist terrorism” is at the “roots of terrorism.”
The White House briefly pulled video of a press event on terrorism with Pres. Obama, and when it reappeared on the WhiteHouse.gov website and YouTube, the audio of Hollande’s translator goes silent, beginning with the words “Islamist terrorism,” then begins again at the end of his sentence.
Even the audio of Hollande saying the words “Islamist terrorism” in French have, apparently, been edited from the video.
According to the official White House transcript of Hollande’s remarks, Hollande refers to “Islamist terrorism.” The audio of the bold text in brackets is missing from the video – the only point in the video were the audio is absent:
“We are also making sure that between Europe and the United States there can be a very high level coordination.
“But we’re also well aware that the roots of terrorism, [Islamist terrorism, is in Syria and in Iraq. We therefore have to act both in Syria and in Iraq, and this is what we’re doing within the framework of the coalition.] And we note that Daesh is losing ground thanks to the strikes we’ve been able to launch with the coalition.”
Watch the video of Hollande’s censored comment:
Pres. Obama has come under fire from Republicans for his refusal to say “radical Islam” when discussing terrorism and, again yesterday, he declined to do so.
Obama made three vague mentions of terrorism, citing the “hands of terrorism,” the “scourge of terrorism,” and “counterterrorism” in Thursday’s press event.
Conservative leader and Founder of the Eagle Forum Phyllis Schlafly said GOP frontrunner Donald Trump is a candidate that will give conservatives “a choice not an echo” during Trump’s campaign rally in St. Louis, Missouri at the Peabody Opera House on Friday afternoon.
“I want you to meet Donald Trump,” Schlafly told the crowd full of Trump supporters. “I had the chance to meet with him a couple minutes ago and I asked him to stand by the Republican platform because we have the best conservative platform we’ve ever had. He endorsed it. He will stand by it. He is a real conservative and I ask you to support him.”
Schlafly also told the crowd that she is confident Trump will appoint conservative Supreme Court justices like Justice Scalia.
“I think he has the courage and the energy – you know you have to have energy for that job – in order to bring some changes and to do what the grassroots want him to do, because this is a grass roots uprising. We’ve been following the losers for so long.”
“This is a great, great lady,” Trump said about Schlafly after taking the stage.
Trump recalled last nights GOP primary debate in Miami, Florida, saying, “They are getting ratings on these debates.”
“I wanted to act very presidential last night,” Trump said about his performance.
He said in the past a presidential debate was a “ratings graveyard” for news networks.
“They want to do it for themselves. They don’t want to do it for us,” Trump said, adding that a network called him and said they want to have two more debates.
The real estate mogul said he wants to put the debates away but added, “I guess it’s been very helpful,” since he is leading in the polls.
Trump commented on recent incidents about protesters and violence at his campaign rallies.
He said there is “a lot of enthusiasm” at the rallies but that his supporters are “not angry people.”
“But, we do get angry when we see the stupidity with which our country is run,” he added.
“These are trouble makers,” Trump said about the protesters, several of which interrupted the rally. “They realize there are no consequences to protesting.”
“Our country has got to toughen up, folks,” he added. “These people are bringing us down.”
“There has to be some law and order,” Trump said. “The divisiveness is incredible.”
“We’re going to end it,” Trump vowed.
“I’d love to meet those people for ten minutes… what do we want? We want homes, we want education,” Trump said, adding, also wanting borders, a strong military, and jobs. “They can’t want anything more.”
Trump moved on to criticizing the Democratic Party’s frontrunner Hillary Clinton.
“Did you ever notice the way she’s so nice now? Ever notice, ‘Oh yes, the president is right about this, right about that,’” Trump mocked. “You know, she was never that way to him. She never liked him and he never liked her and then now all of a sudden everything he’s doing is fine.”
“He said things about Bill… and Bill has never forgotten it and then all of a sudden she’s saying he is the greatest thing that ever happened,” Trump said about President Obama.
“She’s becoming him,” Trump told his supporters, saying that’s how he will win. “We’re not going to let it happen.”
Trump then moved to criticizing his competitor Ohio Gov. John Kasich ahead of the Ohio primary on Tuesday.
“The governor, and I like him, but he’s in favor of the Trans Pacific Partnership, the TPP. It’s a disaster,” Trump began about Kasich.
“I am a free trader… but it’s got to be reasonable. It’s got to be fair.”
Trump then mentioned Obamacare.
“Kasich, in Ohio, brought Obamacare to Ohio. It’s a disaster,” he added saying people are very unhappy with it.
Ben Carson threw his support behind Donald Trump Friday morning, saying the two men had “buried the hatchet” and praising the Republican Party’s front-runner as a “the voice of the people to be heard.”
Speaking at a news conference here at Trump’s private club, Mar-a-Lago, the retired neurosurgeon echoed Trump’s recent calls for party unity and pleaded with the GOP to allow the “political process to play out.”
“What I’ve been seeing recently is political operatives… once again trying to assert themselves and trying to thwart the will of the people,” Carson said. “I find that to be an extraordinarily dangerous place right now.”
Carson’s endorsement, coming just one week after he ended his own White House campaign, gives Trump a significant boost as the Republican nominating contest heads to critical states like Florida and Ohio on Tuesday. Trump said he did not make any promises to Carson about a future role in a potential Trump administration, but pledged that Carson would play a “big, big part” in his campaign.
Carson – whose campaign and demeanor were polar opposites of Trump’s in many ways – played the role Friday of vouching for Trump’s character and integrity. He explained that there were “two Donald Trumps” – one that the public sees, and another more reserved and “cerebral” man who “sits there and considers things very carefully.”
“Some people have gotten the impression that Donald Trump is this person who is not malleable, who does not have the ability to listen, and to take information in and make wise decisions. And that’s not true,” Carson said. “He’s much more cerebral than that.”
Carson became the second former presidential candidate to back to Trump. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie endorsed the businessman two weeks ago.
Earlier this week, Carson had indicated that he would be open to backing either Trump or Ted Cruz. Carson and Cruz’s relationship hit a rocky patch around the first GOP primary contest in Iowa, when the Cruz campaign incorrectly told precinct captains while the caucuses were taking place that Carson may be dropping out of the race. Carson called on Cruz to take responsibility and fire whoever was responsible for the “blatant lying,” and Cruz subsequently apologized.
On Friday, Carson – a Seventh Day Adventist – insisted that he had no lingering hard feelings towards the Texas senator.
“I have completely forgiven him. That’s a duty one has as a Christian,” he said.
On the tense exchanges that he has had with Trump this cycle, Carson said all of that was also history. “We moved on because it’s not about me. It’s not about Mr. Trump. This is about America.”
Trump praised Carson throughout his press conference.
“Having (Carson’s) support, really, it just adds total credence to what I’m trying to do and to what we’re all trying to do,” Trump said, introducing Carson.
President Obama on Monday condemned a weekend shooting rampage in Kalamazoo, Mich., calling it a stark example that more needs to be done to prevent gun violence in America.
The president said he phoned the mayor, police chief and sheriff in Kalamazoo to offer federal assistance in the investigation.
“Their local officials and first responders did an outstanding job in apprehending the individual very quickly,” he told a meeting of the National Governors Association at the White House. “But you’ve got families who are shattered today.”
Obama cited a series of executive actions he took last month designed to expand background checks on gun purchases, but he added that “it’s clear we’re going to need to do more to keep innocent Americans safe.”
An Über driver allegedly killed six people and injured two others during a Saturday shooting spree in Kalamazoo. The man, identified as police as Jason Brian Dalton, reportedly picked up passengers between shootings.
Obama cited last year’s mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., by Islamic State in Iraq and Syria sympathizers as an incident that terrorized the nation, adding “here’s a hard truth, we probably lost even more Americans than that this weekend alone.”
“I’ve got to assume that all of your are just as tired as I am of seeing this stuff happen in your states,” the president continued.
“So that’s an area where we need to partner and think about what we can do in a common-sense way, in a bipartisan way, without some of the ideological rhetoric that so often surrounds that issue.”
The shooting in Kalamazoo was just the latest mass incident of gun violence that has occured in Obama’s presidency.
Obama has delivered forceful, emotional calls for new gun laws after shootings in Newtown, Conn., in 2012 and Charleston, S.C. in 2015.
But the president has repeatedly been stymied by Republicans in Congress in passing new gun laws, such as universal background checks and an assault weapons ban.
In January, Obama issued a new executive actions clarifying which gun sellers are required to conduct background checks on buyers.
At a Democratic town hall in Las Vegas, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders declared himself not only a “strong feminist,” but also an “honorary woman,” a distinction given to him by feminist icon Gloria Steinem.
“I consider myself a strong feminist,” Sanders told a young woman from the audience who asked the question. “And in fact, Gloria Steinem – everybody knows Gloria is one of the leading feminists in America – made me an honorary woman many, many years ago.”
“I don’t know exactly what that meant, but I accepted it when she came to campaign for me,” Sanders added.
The answer elicited laughter from the audience. But it comes at a time when Sanders’s campaign has taken heat for the comments made by a surrogate, rapper “Killer Mike.”
At an event in Georgia this week, the rapper repeated the words of a female activist who he said told him that a “uterus” doesn’t qualify a person to be president. Sanders has dismissed the controversy as “gotcha politics.”
And on Thursday night, he did not address it but noted his efforts to pass legislation mandating equal pay for equal work for women.
“Women are making 70 cents on the dollar compared to men,” Sanders said. “Minority women, women of color… are making substantially less.”
“That has nothing to do with economics. That has everything to do with sexism,” he added.
The comments prompted nearly instant condemnation from Clinton’s allies.
Abortion-rights group NARAL Pro-Choice America slammed Sanders, saying that he failed to demonstrate that he had earned his “honorary woman” title.
“Bernie is a good man, and being a woman means understanding that we need equal pay but that equal pay doesn’t buy us much if we can’t plan our families,” NARAL President Ilyse Hogue said in a statement. “Being a woman means knowing that undoing Citizens United doesn’t secure our fundamental freedoms and restore abortion access under assault daily by anti-choice forces in this country.
“Being a woman means understanding that no man ever had to say ‘Hey guys, let’s stand together, and vote for a man’ because the status quo in this country has supported that for over two hundred years,” she added. “Even as an ‘honorary woman,’ Bernie Sanders doesn’t quite get it.”
President Obama spoke warmly about Islam during his speech at a mosque today, highlighting the contributions that Muslims had made to the fabric of American society.
“Islam has always been part of America,” he said, detailing the beginnings of the religion among African slaves brought to America. He also pointed out that Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Virginia statute for religious freedom that the “Mohammedan” should have his faith protected in the United States.
Obama met with Muslim leaders during a visit to the Islamic Society of Baltimore, before delivering a speech there. This is Obama’s first visit to a mosque as president – although George W. Bush also visited a mosque in New York City after the attacks of 9/11.
During his speech, he praised the religion for being a religion of peace – not the hate preached by groups like ISIS.
“The very word Islam comes from ‘Salam’ – peace,” he said. “The standard greeting is ‘As-Salaam-Alaikum’ – ‘Peace be upon you,’” he explained. “Like so many faiths, Islam is rooted in a commitment to compassion and mercy and justice and charity. “Whoever wants to enter paradise, the prophet Mohammad taught, let him treat people the way he would love to be treated,” he said as the audience applauded.
“For Christians like myself, I’m assuming that sounds familiar,” he continued.
Obama has frequently defended Muslim Americans – even meeting with leaders at private event at the White House last year. This is the biggest public display of support for the Muslim American community – cited by White House aides as a response to the anti-refugee and anti-Muslim rhetoric on the campaign trail from Republicans like Donald Trump.
Obama reminded the audience that political opponents of Thomas Jefferson accused him of being a Muslim. “So I was not the first,” he said lightly as the audience laughed. “It’s true. Look it up. I’m in good company.”
Obama pointed out that the founding fathers also supported the religion of Islam.
“Jefferson and John Adams had their own copies of the Koran,” he said. “Benjamin Franklin wrote, that even if the Mufti of Constantinople were to send a missionary to preach to us, he would find a pulpit at his service.”
He also recalled the history of mosques in America – pointing out that the oldest surviving mosque was in Iowa and that the first American mosque was built in North Dakota.
Obama also urged Christians to defend Muslim-Americans when their religion was under attack.
“If we’re serious about freedom of religion – and I’m speaking now to my fellow Christians, who remain the majority in this country – we have to understand, an attack on one faith is an attack on all our faiths,” he said.
He demanded that Americans stop profiling Muslims and treating them differently because of their faith – criticizing political rhetoric for inflaming hatred against the Muslim community.
“We have to reject a politics that seeks to manipulate prejudice or bias and targets people because of religion,” he said.
He specifically addressed young Muslim Americans, urging them not to grow cynical.
“Let me say it as clearly as I can, as President of the United States, you fit in here. Right here. You’re right where you belong. You’re part of America too,” he said.
According to photos on Twitter of the speech, the audience in the mosque was segregated – men in one section and women in a special balcony.
As Obama concluded his speech, he said, “May God’s peace be upon you and God Bless the United States of America.”
This is how Iranian President Hassan Rouhani describes the diplomatic swindle, known as the “Iran nuclear deal.”
The Koranic term (in Arabic Fatah al-Mobin) refers to one of Prophet Mohammed’s successful guerrilla raids on a Meccan caravan in the early days of Islam.
Rouhani claims the “deal” represents “the greatest diplomatic victory in Islamic history.” Leaving aside the hyperbole, a fixture of the mullahs’ rhetorical arsenal, Rouhani has reason to crow.
If not quite moribund as some analysts claim, the Islamic Republic had been in a rough patch for years.
For more than a year, the government was unable to pay some of the 5.2 million public sector employees, notably teachers, petrochemical workers and students on bursaries, triggering numerous strikes.
Deprived of urgently needed investment, the Iranian oil industry was pushed to the edge with its biggest oil fields, notably Bibi Hakimeh and Maroun, producing less than half their capacity.
Between 2012 and 2015, Iran lost 25% of its share in the global oil market.
Sanctions and lack of investment also meant that large chunks of Iranian industry, dependent on imported parts, went under. In 2015 Iran lost an average of 1,000 jobs a day.
Last month, the nation’s currency, the rial, fell to an all-time record low while negative economic growth was forecast for the third consecutive year.
Having increased the military budget by 21%, Rouhani was forced to delay presentation of his new budget for the Iranian New Year starting March 21.
Against that background that Obama rode to the rescue by pushing through a “deal” designed to ease pressure on Iran in exchange for nothing but verbal promises from Tehran. Here is some of what Obama did:
* Dropped demands that Iran reshape its nuclear program to make sure it can never acquire a military dimension. As head of Iranian Atomic Energy Agency Ali Akbar Salehi has said: “Our nuclear project remains intact. The ‘deal’ does not prevent us from doing what we were doing.”
* He suspended a raft of sanctions and pressured the European Union and the United Nations to do the same.
* He injected a badly needed $1.7 billion into Iranian economy by releasing assets frozen under President Jimmy Carter and kept as possible compensation for Americans held hostage at different times. The cash enabled Rouhani to start paying some unpaid salaries in Iran while financing Hezbollah branches and helping the Assad regime in Syria.
* Obama released another tranche of $30 billion, enabling Rouhani to present his new budget with a reduced deficit at 14% while increasing the military-security budget yet again, by 4.2%.
* Banking sanctions were set aside to let Iran import 19,000 tons of American rice to meet shortages on the eve of Iranian New Year when consumption reaches its peak.
* Obama’s lovefest with the mullahs helped mollify the Khomeinist regime’s image as a sponsor of international terror and a diplomatic pariah.
What is the rationale behind Obama’s dogged determination to help the mullahs out of the ditch they have dug?
Some cite Obama’s alleged belief that the US has been an “imperialist power,” bullying weaker nations and must make amends.
Others suggest a tactic to strengthen “moderates” within the Iranian regime who, if assured that the US does into seek regime change might lead the nation towards a change of behavior.
Whatever the reasons, what Obama has done could best described as appeasement-plus.
In classical appeasement you promise an adversary not to oppose some of his moves, for example the annexation of Czechoslovakia, but you do not offer him actual financial or diplomatic support.
Obama has gone beyond that.
In addition to saving Iran from running out of money, on the diplomatic front he has endorsed Tehran’s scenario for Syria, is campaigning to help Iran choose the next Lebanese president, and has given the mullahs an open field in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Secretary of State John Kerry talks of Iran as “the regional power,” to the chagrin of Washington’s Middle East allies.
What if the “deal” actually weakens the “moderates” that Obama wants to support, supposing they do exist?
Obama’s imaginary “moderates” are not in good shape. The Council of Guardians that decides who could run for election next month has disqualified 99% of the so-called “moderate” wannabes, ensuring the emergence of a new Islamic parliament and Assembly of Experts dominated by radicals as never before.
Meanwhile, the annual “End of America” festival, Feb. 1 to 10, is to be held with greater pomp.
With more resources at its disposal, Tehran is intensifying its “exporting the revolution” campaign. Last week it announced the creation of a new Hezbollah branch in Turkey and, for the first time, made the existence of a branch in Iraq public. Tajikistan was also publicly added to the markets where Khomeinist revolution should be exported.
There are no “moderates” in Tehran, and the Islamic Republic cannot be reformed out of its nature. For the remainder of Obama’s term least, expect a more aggressive Islamic Republic.
Did the mullahs deceive Obama? No, this was all his idea.
Sarah Palin – Former Alaska Governor/Former Republican Party Vice Presidential Nominee
Ted Nugent – Rock Star/Television Star/2nd Amendment Activist
Willie Robertson – Christian Minister/Businessman/Television Star
Ann Coulter – Book Author/Columnist/Television-Radio Commentator
Joe Arpaio – Former DEA Special Agent/Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff
Mike Ditka – Former NFL Player/Former Coach/Hall Of Fame Inductee
Geert Wilders – Founder And Leader Of Dutch Party For Freedom/Anti-Islam Activist
Carl Icahn – Business Magnate/Philanthropist
Jeffrey Lord – Former Reagan Administration Political Director/Strategist
Virgil Goode – Former U.S. Representative From Virginia/Former Constitution Party Presidential Nominee
Louie Gohmert – U.S. Representative From Texas
Brent Bozell – Founder And President Of The Media Research Center/Columnist
Glenn Beck – Former Television Host/Talk Radio Host/Book Author
Phil Robertson – Businessman/Television Star
Andrew C. McCarthy – Former Assistant U.S. Attorney From New York/Book Author/Columnist
Adam Carolla – Former Television Host/Talk Radio Host
R. Lee Ermey – Former U.S. Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant/Movie Star/Television Host
Tom Tancredo – Former U.S. Representative From Colorado
Steve King – U.S. Representative From Iowa
C.L. Bryant – Christian Minister/Talk Radio Host
By the way, these are the sort of folks who endorse Democrat candidates for President:
The Obama administration on Thursday eased visa rules for certain European travelers who have visited terror hotspots in the Middle East and Africa, a move certain to rile congressional lawmakers who sought the restrictions.
The revised requirements announced Thursday pertain to changes in the Visa Waiver Program passed by Congress. Lawmakers had sought new restrictions to tighten up the program – which allows visa-free travel for residents of eligible countries – in order to prevent Europeans who have joined ISIS from entering the U.S.
The administration implemented the changes Thursday – but with some changes of its own.
As called for by The Visa Waiver Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015, the administration is mostly excluding nationals of Iraq, Iran, Syria and Sudan as well as travelers who have visited the countries since Mar. 1, 2011 from the program. Instead, they’ll have to apply for a visa in order to travel to the United States.
But under the revised requirements, some Europeans who have traveled to those four countries in the last five years may still be allowed to travel to the United States without obtaining a visa if they meet certain criteria.
The administration announced Thursday that it will use its waiver authority – granted to it in the legislation – to give waivers to travelers who traveled to the terror hotspots as journalists, for work with humanitarian agencies or on behalf of international organizations, regional organizations and sub-national governments on official duty.
Likely to cause ire among congressional Republicans is an additional waiver for people who have traveled to Iran “for legitimate business-related purposes” since the conclusion of the Iran nuclear deal in July. The administration also offers waivers for individuals who have traveled to Iraq for business as well.
Citizens of 38 countries, mostly in Europe, are generally allowed to travel to the United States without applying for a visa. But they still have to submit biographical information to the Electronic System for Travel Authorization, or ESTA.
The Homeland Security Department said waivers for some ESTA applicants will be granted on a “case-by-case” basis. Those travelers who are denied visa-free travel can still apply for visa through a U.S. embassy in their home country.
Republicans reacted angrily to the waivers, saying the Obama administration had exploited the limited authority and has compromised national security.
“President Obama and his administration’s decision to abuse their limited waiver authority and allow scores of people who have traveled to or are dual nationals of countries like Iraq and Syria flies in the face of reason and congressional intent,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., said in a statement.
“The Obama Administration is essentially rewriting the law by blowing wide open a small window of discretion that Congress gave it for law enforcement and national security reasons,” Goodlatte said.
The new restrictions had previously been criticized by the Iranian government that the U.S. is violating the nuclear deal by penalizing legitimate business travel to the country.
After an abysmal presidential campaign in which he struggled to get over zero percent in any poll, Senator Lindsey Graham (RINO-SC) has thrown his support to another struggling establishment RINO squish, Jeb Bush.
Standing alongside Bush at a joint press conference on Friday morning, Graham made that hilarious proclamation that “the only way you can become Commander-in-Chief in America is for the American people to pick you through voting.”
Thank you for that, Goober. That’s a real stunner. We had no idea.
The funny thing is, Jeb actually thinks Lindsey Graham’s endorsement is going to help him. It shouldn’t be too surprising that Graham would support Bush, considering they are both for Common Core and amnesty for illegal aliens.
Free to rejoin the fight.
If you watched the State of the Union address, you know that closing the prison at Guantanamo Bay is still a top priority for President Obama. Despite signing a closure order way back in January of 2009, the Commander in Chief has failed to follow through and the facility remains open. Now, the clock is ticking and Obama has stepped up the release of Gitmo inmates. In just the last two weeks, he’s unshackled another four prisoners.
Among those recently set free is 40-year-old Muhammad al Rahman al-Shumrani. According to his file, he was born in Saudi Arabia, he’s in good health, and oh! This is interesting: He’s vowed to kill as many Americans as possible – in multiple countries – if he’s ever released from his cell.
On 14 October 2007, detainee stated, “When I get out of here, I will go to Iraq and Afghanistan and kill as many Americans as I can. Then I will come here and kill more Americans.” 35 ? (S//NF) Detainee stated, “I love Usama Bin Laden and Mullah Omar and if I ever get out of Guantanamo I will go back to fight the Americans and kill as many as I can.” Detainee stated he hated all Americans and will seek revenge if ever released from Guantanamo. 36 ? (S//NF) Detainee said that if he is released, he would again participate in jihad against the enemies of Muslims, to include the United States. Detainee is proud of what he has done and what he is willing to do anything to fight against enemies of Muslims. 37 ? (S//NF) Detainee stated he decided to become more religious because of his dislike of the US and its citizens.
Super. He definitely sounds like a guy we want to put back into circulation. What could possibly go wrong?
His file goes on to state that
“If released without rehabilitation, close supervision, and means to successfully reintegrate into his society as a law-abiding citizen, it is assessed detainee would immediately seek out prior associates and reengage in hostilities and extremist support activities at home and abroad. Since being transferred to JTF-GTMO, detainee has threatened the guard staff, has preached extremist ideology to other inmates, and has indicated his intent to kill Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan if released.”
We’re sure the administration has properly rehabilitated this fine, upstanding, gentleman. Likewise, we’re positive they’ve guaranteed his new outlook through their standard, highly-effective, vetting process. After all, it’s not like they have a track record of letting 116 former detainees return to the battlefield.
Planned Parenthood is throwing its support behind Hillary Clinton, delivering what will be the organization’s first-ever endorsement in a presidential primary.
“Everything Planned Parenthood has believed in and fought for over the past 100 years is on the ballot,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, according to The New York Times.
Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic nomination and a staunch supporter of abortion rights, thanked Planned Parenthood for its support.
“I’ll take on Republicans or anyone who tries to interfere with women’s health,” Clinton tweeted. “I am proud to have @PPact’s support in this important election.
“Yesterday was a preview of what would happen under a Republican president,” Clinton wrote, citing House legislation passed Wednesday that would defund Planned Parenthood for one year.
“Every single GOP presidential candidate would defund Planned Parenthood,” the former secretary of State added.
Clinton will officially accept Planned Parenthood’s support during a campaign rally next Sunday in Manchester, N.H., The New York Times said. Planned Parenthood Action Fund, the nonprofit’s advocacy arm, is making the endorsement.
The action fund plans to spend $20 million on presidential and Senate races this cycle in critical battleground states such as New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, the Times added.
The House passed an ObamaCare repeal package 240-181 Wednesday that includes language stripping federal funding from Planned Parenthood for one year. President Obama has vowed to veto the bill.
Conservatives rallied around defunding Planned Parenthood last summer after a series of undercover videos documented its involvement with fetal tissue research.
The builder of the Keystone XL oil pipeline company is suing the Obama administration in federal court over its refusal to approve the project.
TransCanada, which proposed the pipeline project to connect Canada’s oil sands in Alberta with U.S. refiners on the Gulf Coast, on Wednesday filed a lawsuit in U.S. Federal Court in Houston, “asserting that the president’s decision to deny construction of Keystone XL exceeded his power under the U.S. Constitution,” according to the company.
The administration squashed the project after a record seven years of review, saying the project would increase greenhouse gas emissions and worsen climate change.
“TransCanada’s legal actions challenge the foundation of the U.S. administration’s decision to deny a presidential border crossing permit for the project,” the company says. “In its decision, the U.S. State Department acknowledged the denial was not based on the merits of the project. Rather, it was a symbolic gesture based on speculation about the perceptions of the international community regarding the administration’s leadership on climate change and the president’s assertion of unprecedented, independent powers.”
The company says as a result of the U.S. permit denial, it is reviewing the total sunk cost in the project at $3.1 billion. It is also making a separate claim under the North American Free Trade Agreement to recoup $15 billion in “costs and damages that it has suffered as a result of the U.S. administration’s breach of its… obligations” under the agreement.