Donald Trump Cabinet Roundup: How Rich, How Conservative, How Canada-Friendly

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WASHINGTON — Donald Trump has now named most of his cabinet picks, including the senior positions. Here's what the next U.S. administration looks like:

—Quite conservative

Trump is only occasionally a conservative. Some members of his team are true believers.

His proposed education secretary, billionaire Betsy DeVos, promotes alternatives to public schools. Conservative favourite Ben Carson would lead housing and urban policy. His pick for energy secretary, Rick Perry, once proposed eliminating his future department. A climate-change skeptic will be leading climate policy as head of the Environmental Protection Agency.

betsy devosDonald Trump and Betsy DeVos pose for a photo after their meeting at Trump International Golf Club, Nov. 19, 2016 in New Jersey. (Photo: Getty Images)

The labour secretary studied replacing human workers with robots, and fought minimum-wage increases, as a restaurant-chain owner. The pick for health secretary, Tom Price, has advocated a more laissez-faire approach than Obamacare.

The attorney general choice, Jeff Sessions, has fought against the trend of relaxing drug penalties. He recently said this about marijuana: "It is not funny, it's not something to laugh about ... good people don't smoke marijuana.''

The vice-president-elect, Mike Pence, once supported federal funding for gay-conversion therapy — though he's never called for it. Trump, himself, has suggested he'll appoint pro-life judges.

mike penceVice-president elect Mike Pence falls under the category of "quite conservative." (Photo: Tom Williams via Getty Images)

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—A generals' club

Trump says he's fond of senior military figures. It shows in his picks. Michael Flynn will be his national security adviser. His defence pick is James Mattis, a blunt-talking, well-regarded, well-read retired Marine. Retired general John Kelly is his choice for Homeland Security secretary.

Kelly appeared at the Halifax Security Forum in 2014. In a panel discussion, he accurately predicted that the so-called Islamic State would begin to suffer reversals once it tried holding territory, and was drawn into traditional combat.

john kellyRetired Marine Corps General John Kelly arrives at Trump Tower, Nov. 30, 2016 in New York City. (Photo: Getty Images)

But he added that the group would learn, and adopt new techniques.

"Warfare is first and foremost an intellectual activity,'' Kelly told that audience in Canada.

"You learn from the people you're fighting ... It's chess.''

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—Very rich

The Washington Post began a story noting that George W. Bush's cabinet was called the team of millionaires, then added: "Combined, that group had (a) ... net worth of about $250 million — which is roughly one-10th the wealth of Donald Trump's nominee for commerce secretary alone.''T

That's Wilbur Ross, the billionaire investor. Cabinet picks includes heirs to the Ameritrade and Amway fortunes, one of whom, Todd Ricketts, also owns the Chicago Cubs baseball team.

wilbur rossWilbur Ross speaks at the Bloomberg Dealmaker Summit in New York, U.S., on Thursday, Oct. 25, 2012. (Photo: Bloomberg via Getty Images)

The transportation pick is a member of the U.S.'s 39th-richest family, according to Forbes. The labour secretary is restaurant chain owner Andy Puzder. The next Treasury secretary is a relative pauper, compared to some of these people. Hedge-fund manager Steve Mnuchin is reportedly worth a mere $40 million.

"Almost no one going into this administration ... isn't making an economic sacrifice, big-time, in order to do so,'' Ross told CNN. "We want to give back and help the country.''

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—Not devoid of Democrats

Not everyone is a dyed-in-the-wool conservative. The commerce pick, Ross, used to be a Democrat and donated in the 1990s to Bill Clinton and senators Ted Kennedy and Sam Nunn. He flipped to the Republicans in the early 2000s, and generally favours deregulation. The former general, Flynn, also was a Democrat.

michael flynnMichael Flynn will be Trump's national security adviser. (Photo: AP)

In fact, much of Trump's family fits that description. Politico reports his daughter, Ivanka, intends to play a First Lady-like role and champion climate change causes, after already having pushed her father to announce plans for a parental-leave program.

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—Loyalists and outsiders

The top White House staffers will be fellow travellers from Trump's campaign — Republican chair Reince Priebus and strategist Steve Bannon. The commerce secretary, Ross, wrote Trump's anti-NAFTA trade platform.

The picks for treasury, attorney general, and national security adviser are all early Trump supporters.

rex tillersonRex Tillerson was a surprise choice for secretary of state. (Photo: Reuters)

However, Trump has gone outside the tent.

Secretary of state pick Rex Tillerson was a surprise choice. Perry was an early Trump critic. He's appointed another ex-critic, Nikki Haley, the governor of South Carolina, as UN ambassador.

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—Open to racial controversies

At his Senate confirmation hearing, Sessions will certainly be asked about his last confirmation hearing. The chamber refused to make him a federal judge three decades ago because of remarks about blacks, including one possible joke about supporting the Ku Klux Klan. He's a foe of undocumented immigrants, and supports voter-ID and prison policies that disproportionately affect blacks.

Flynn has often made disparaging remarks about Islam.

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The Canadian angle

A binational business lobby group says Canada has gotten a good draw. Scotty Greenwood of the Canadian American Business Council says the cabinet is stacked with people with productive ties to Canada.

People with military and business backgrounds deal often with Canada — more than most career politicians, she said.

nikki haleyNikki Haley's parents lived briefly in Canada, upon moving from India. (Photo: Getty Images)

"Military people — more than almost anyone — really love Canada ... If I had to pick a category of (Americans) who love Canada the most: generals,'' she said.

"The second most: business people.''

Businessman Ross wants to revamp NAFTA, although it's unclear how Canada fits into that. Haley's parents lived briefly in Canada, upon moving from India. Tillerson runs Exxon Mobil, has addressed Alberta's Spruce Meadows club, and, according to former U.S. ambassador Gary Doer, he expresses pride in his company's considerable oil investments in Canada.

As noted, Kelly has attended the Halifax Security Forum.

The Russian connection

Trump's team also has close ties to Russia — which could come up at congressional confirmation hearings. Tillerson, as an oil CEO, has had a friendly, years-long relationship with Vladimir Putin and questioned sanctions over the invasion of Ukraine.

Flynn once dined with Putin and received an unspecified sum to appear at an event for the Kremlin-run Russia Today network.

Other members of the team are more hawkish on Russia.

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