United States Cabinet

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The United States Cabinet refers to the most senior appointed officers of the executive branch of the United States federal government.

The first Cabinet formed by President George Washington, consisted of four people; Secretary of State, Thomas Jefferson; Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton; Secretary of War, Henry Knox; and Attorney General, Edmund Randolph.


All members of the Cabinet are nominated by the President. The United States Senate then holds a vote to either confirm or reject any nominees. This process comes from Article II, section 2 of the U.S. Constitution, which says the president "shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the Supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for..." [1]

The president does have the option of making a "recess appointment" when the Senate is in between sessions, or which in recess during a session. An appointment of this type will expire at the end of the following congressional session.


Cabinet positions customarily end when the president who nominated them steps down from office. Cabinet members can be fired by the President at any time. In some cases members of the cabinet will tender their resignation if controversy arises (i.e. Donald Rumsfeld).


See also: Cabinet of Donald Trump

The current cabinet of President Donald Trump, as of 2017, and the order of Presidential succession after the Vice President, Speaker of the House and President pro tempore of the Senate is as follows:[2]

Office Cabinet member Predecessor
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson John Kerry
Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin Jack Lew
Secretary of Defense James Mattis Ashton Carter
Attorney General Jeff Sessions Loretta Lynch
Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke Sally Jewell
Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue Tom Vilsack
Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross Penny Pritzker
Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta[3] Thomas Perez
Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price Sylvia Mathews Burwell
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson Julian Castro
Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao Anthony Foxx
Secretary of Energy Rick Perry Ernest Moniz
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos John King
Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin Robert McDonald
Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly Jeh Johnson

* The order of succession will skip anyone who is ineligible to hold the office of the President. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao is not a natural-born citizen and therefore is ineligible. ** Resigned on May 30, 2014.

There are also officers of the Cabinet who do not have the title Secretary. They are:[2]

Office Cabinet member
White House Chief of staff Reince Priebus
United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer
Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats
Representative of the United States to the United Nations Nikki Haley
Director of the Office of Management and Budget Mick Mulvaney
Director of the Central Intelligence Agency Mike Pompeo
Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency Scott Pruitt
Administrator of the Small Business Administration Linda McMahon


  1. Nominations
  2. 2.0 2.1 President Donald J. Trump Announces His Cabinet. whitehouse.gov. February 8, 2017. Retrieved February 17, 2017.
  3. Trump originally nominated Andrew Puzder, but he withdrew.