Breaking News Emails
WASHINGTON — President Trump has often boasted of the quality level of his political and policy advisers, once claiming that his administration featured "by far the highest IQ of any Cabinet ever assembled."
But the first president to lack government or military experience has seemingly dismissed the need for traditional categories of relevant expertise in his picks for key posts as well, often tapping loyalists who lack the qualifications of their predecessors.
His expected nomination of former Fox anchor and State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert to serve as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations despite a lack of traditional diplomatic experience joins a long list of similar selections. Here are a few others:
—Ronny Jackson, VA Secretary nominee: Despite his medical and military credentials, Jackson lacked the relevant management and policy experience to run the government’s second-largest agency. Jackson ultimately withdrew his name from consideration amid allegations of workplace misconduct.
—Ben Carson, Housing and Urban Development Secretary: Carson, a pioneering neurosurgeon, had no expertise in housing or welfare policy when Trump put him in charge of meeting the housing needs of millions of low-income Americans.
—Rick Perry, Energy Secretary: Perry famously once called for the elimination of the department he now leads. The New York Times reported that Perry learned only after being offered the job that "he would become the steward of a vast national security complex he knew almost nothing about, caring for the most fearsome weapons on the planet, the United States’ nuclear arsenal."
—Betsy DeVos, Education Secretary: The billionaire charter school activist had no teaching or administrative experience when nominated. Vice President Mike Pence delivered the tie-breaking vote in her controversial Senate confirmation.
—Matthew Petersen, D.C. U.S. District Court Judge nominee: Petersen struggled to answer basic legal questions at his December 2017 confirmation hearing. His exchange with Republican Sen. John Kennedy went viral, and he ultimately withdrew his nomination.
—Brett Talley, Alabama U.S. District Court Judge nominee: Trump nominated the 36-year-old for a lifetime federal district judgeship despite Talley never having tried a case. Talley received a unanimous "not qualified" rating from the American Bar Association, largely due to his lack of courtroom experience. A record number of Trump nominees have received such a rating from the ABA.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION POSTS
—Sam Clovis, USDA chief scientist nominee: Trump nominated his former Iowa campaign manager for the position overseeing science at the Department of Agriculture, despite the fact that Clovis isn't a scientist. Clovis withdrew only after being linked to the ongoing Russia probe.
—Jared Kushner Ivanka Trump, senior advisers (appointed, not nominated): Neither Kushner nor Trump had government experience prior to becoming senior White House advisers. Kushner’s previous main work experience was running his father's real-estate firm.