Trump Team Looks to Texas to Fill Cabinet

State & Regional

Vice President-elect Mike Pence told the Republican House to “buckle up” Thursday, because the new administration will move fast to make big changes in Washington. 

Donald Trump’s cabinet is starting to take to shape and several Texans are rumored to be in the running for top-level positions in the Trump administration.

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) met with Trump in New York this week, raising eyebrows and fueling speculation over the future administration.

On the primary campaign trail Trump repeatedly referred to Cruz as “Lyin’ Ted,” but President Trump might give Cruz a different title as U.S. Attorney General.

“I was a little bit surprised that Cruz’s name was suggested for Attorney General, I think he would be dynamite,” said GOP strategist, Matt Mackowiak.

Mackowiak said Cruz is a “unifying choice” that would thrill the so-called Republican establishment, especially conservatives.

Cruz’s spokesperson said the Texas Republican “looks forward to assisting the Trump administration.”

Trump and Cruz did not offer any details of what was discussed during the private, closed-door meeting at Trump Tower Tuesday.

Trump has said it is in the past and that he wants former Texas Governor Rick Perry “involved in some capacity at a high level.” 

Mackowiak said Perry is “a great choice for Veterans Affairs, energy, maybe commerce.”

Lt. Governor Dan Patrick also voiced confidence that Perry will play an important role in Trump’s administration.

Patrick, who chaired the Trump campaign in Texas, said he has “zero interest” in a cabinet position but he is feeding Trump’s transition team the names of Texans qualified for the jobs.

Another front-runner from Texas, U.S Representative Michael McCaul, is up for the Secretary of Homeland Security job.

The Austin Republican was first elected in 2005 and is currently the chair of the House Homeland Security Committee.

Mackowiak, who worked in the Bush-Cheney White House and spent time at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as a political appointee, said McCaul is the likely pick.

“Which would be a very good thing for the country and also a good thing for the state of Texas,” said Mackowiak.

U.S. Congressman Jeb Hensarling is reportedly on the short list for Secretary of Treasury.

The bench of Republican players runs deep in Texas, the state that gave Trump the largest share of Electoral Votes on Election Night.

“When a Republican president wins the White House they look to Texas because Texas is a state that’s succeeding,” Mackowiak said, “it’s a natural pool to go to.”

The Texas Agriculture Commissioner, Sid Miller’s name has also been mentioned to take that same position nationally.

While not well known in Washington, Miller gained national attention after a tweet sent from his account referred to Hillary Clinton as the c-word.

Miller apologized for the since-deleted tweet and announced the person responsible has been fired. 

Given the controversy, Mackowiak said he would be surprised if Miller was offered a spot in the administration but Miller has been a strong Trump supporter from the beginning.

“It’s always a tricky balance,”Mackowiak said, “You want to balance rewarding loyalty with bringing on the absolute best people you can.”

A political outsider, Trump promised to shake up Washington and “drain the swamp.”

While Trump criticized Clinton as a “career politician,” Trump’s team of advisers include former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich.

Mackowiak said the anti-establishment candidate will likely need some “career politicians” around to help get him up to speed as President-elect.

The first U.S. President to be elected without having served in government or military, Trump has “never seen how this works on the inside,” Mackowiak said.  

He believes Trump will need guidance from people who have the knowledge and experience to “understand how the country works, how the world works and how these departments work and how the government works,” said Mackowiak. 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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