The Slatest

Trump’s Cabinet Will Be the Wealthiest in Modern American History

Wilbur Ross, President-elect Donald Trump’s choice for commerce secretary, arrives at Trump Tower on Tuesday in New York City.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The Washington Post has a new piece out about the massive wealth of Trump’s Cabinet picks so far. Jim Tankersley and Ana Swanson write that Trump’s Cabinet is already the wealthiest in modern American history:

Trump’s nominee for commerce secretary is industrialist Wilbur Ross, who has amassed a fortune of $2.5 billion through decades at the helm of Rothschild’s bankruptcy practice and his own investment firm, according to Forbes.

Ross’ would-be deputy at the Commerce Department, Todd Ricketts, is the son of a billionaire and the co-owner of the Chicago Cubs. Steven Mnuchin, who Trump named to head the Treasury Department, is a former Goldman Sachs executive, hedge fund executive and Hollywood financier.


Betsy DeVos, a Michigan billionaire who was named as Trump’s education secretary, is the daughter-in-law of Richard DeVos, the co-founder of Amway. Her family has a net worth of $5.1 billion, according to Forbes. Elaine Chao, the choice for transportation secretary, is the daughter of a shipping magnate.


They go on to write that the positions of treasury and commerce secretary have long gone to the highly wealthy and connected, including early 20th-century banking tycoon Andrew Mellon, one of the wealthiest men in America, who served as treasury secretary under three administrations starting in 1921. Obama Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker is a multibillionaire from one of America’s wealthiest families.

But the collected wealth of Trump’s overall Cabinet—including many who “were born wealthy, attended elite schools and went on to amass even larger fortunes as adults”—breaks all historical precedent and might only grow larger: Tankersley and Swanson write that Trump’s shortlists for energy secretary and labor secretary include oil billionaire Harold Hamm and multimillionaire restaurant executive Andrew Puzder respectively. All Cabinet members will be employees of a man who promised to strike against the elite and special interests that have wielded disproportionate power and influence in American politics and society—against the monsters of the swamp. So much for that.