Donald Trump is reportedly considering a lineup of loyalists for key government positions should he win a second term as president. According to sources in regular contact with Trump, as reported by Axios, names such as Stephen Miller, Sen. J.D. Vance (R-OH), Kash Patel, and possibly Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner are being contemplated for roles in a potential Cabinet and White House staff. These choices reflect Trump’s desire for a team committed to pushing the limits of legal and governmental norms.
While Trump has not finalized specific roles for these individuals, it’s noted that he dislikes when his staff and associates make speculative claims about his plans. His approach to personnel planning is not detail-oriented and is often influenced by recent conversations. The potential candidates are predominantly older, white men, fitting the profile Trump reportedly prefers for his team.
The former president is also openly discussing possible vice-presidential candidates with his inner circle. Names such as Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Kari Lake, and South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem have surfaced, while Reps. Byron Donalds (R-FL) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) have shown interest in the role. Interestingly, Melania Trump is advocating for former Fox News host Tucker Carlson, even expressing willingness to campaign if he is chosen.
Carlson himself has recommended Stephen Miller, now leading the America First legal nonprofit, for attorney general. Donald Trump Jr. supports former Senate Judiciary staffer Mike Davis for an interim attorney general role, someone who has vowed a “three-week reign of terror” if appointed.
Jeffrey Clark, a former assistant attorney general implicated in Trump’s attempts to overturn the 2020 election results and currently indicted in Georgia, is being considered for a top Department of Justice (DOJ) position. A source close to the Trump campaign suggests that Trump’s pick for attorney general might be a controversial one, aimed at sending a strong message.
The attorney general is where Trump is “most likely to make a shocking pick,” said a source close to the Trump campaign, who said that would send a message: “You want to weaponize DOJ, motherf*cker?'”
Steve Bannon, pardoned by Trump in a fraud case, is being discussed as a potential chief of staff. Kash Patel, known for his opposition to the intelligence community, is a candidate for CIA director or national security adviser. Jared Kushner, who has continued international discussions post-presidency, is being considered for secretary of state, alongside Richard Grenell, Trump’s former ambassador to Germany and acting director of national intelligence.
However, many of these potential appointees could face challenges in securing Senate confirmation. Trump, in his previous term, circumvented this by appointing “acting” secretaries, a practice he might employ again for flexibility, as he expressed a preference for this approach in 2019. This strategy allows him to bypass the constitutional requirement for Senate advice and consent.