Trump Cabinet Appointees Donated $12 Million to His Campaign–But Here's How Rare That is for a President
After the latest pick of Andrew Puzder to serve as his Labor Secretary, President-elect Donald Trump has now appointed six major donors to his administration.
In total thus far, his appointees and their families have donated $11.6 million towards his presidential campaign, according to a Washington Post analysis of federal campaign filings.
Appointing top-donor individuals to an administration position isn't a foreign concept, though. In fact, every president after President George H.W. Bush has chosen big donors to serve in their administrations.
However, David Donnelly, president of Every Voice — an advocacy group that seeks to reduce the influence of wealthy donors on politics — told the Washington Post that he hasn't seen this many top donors in one administration...ever:
“In the past, they were a little hidden— they were sent overseas to be ambassadors. In this administration, they are going to be front and center making policy.”
But Trump has stood by all of his picks, and did so again Thursday evening at a rally in Des Moines, saying:
“I want people that made a fortune, because now they are negotiating with you, okay?”
Here's a closer look at his cabinet picks and their donations:
- His highest single contributor, WWE co-founder Linda McMahon, now runs the Small Business Administration; she gave $7.5 million to his campaign.
- His choice for Education secretary, Betsy DeVos, and her family donated $1.8 million towards his run.
- Todd Ricketts, his Deputy Commerce secretary pick, contributed $1.3 million via his parents.
- Previously Trump's national finance chairman, his pick for Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, gave $425,000.
- Together with his wife, Labor secretary Andrew Puzder — Trump's most recent appointee — donated $332,000.
- And one of Trump's earliest donors, Commerce secretary Wilbur Ross, contributed $200,000.
Many supporters are flagging these choices in concern for Trump's platform to “drain the swamp.” Fred Wertheimer, president of the watchdog group Democracy 21, said:
“This is bound to result in all kinds of conflict and appearances of conflicts in terms of the financial interests of the people being appointed to high positions."
Speculation on the remaining positions in his administration is circulating around other major contributors to his campaign being appointed. Other top-donors include Las Vegas casino bigshot Sheldon Adelson, who, together with his wife, donated $21.2 million and Home Depot co-founder Bernard Marcus, who gave $7.6 million.
Although people are closely watching exactly how full the “swamp” is, Trump remains steadfast and confident in appointing “killers” to his cabinet.