2016-12-15 / Columns

Michigan Folks in Trump Administration

Michigan Politics
By George Weeks

Two Michiganians have been named to be in President-elect Donald Trump’s cabinet, and as of this writing, there’s speculation about others being in his government-political team.

Early on, Trump designated former state GOP chair Betsy DeVos, a champion of school choice, to be Secretary of Education, and last week, Dr. Ben Carson, a Detroit native and acclaimed heart surgeon who sought the nomination that Trump won, as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

DeVos got a lot of flak from teacher unions, and Carson was criticized for lack of executive experience. Strikes me that DeVos and Carson, while controversial, bring talents to the cabinet.

Last week, among those long in an array of speculation about being the next Secretary of State was Michigan native Mitt Romney, the 2012 GOP presidential nominee and ex-Massachusetts governor.

Romney, who had at least two meetings with Trump about the post, is the son of 1963-1969 Michigan Governor George Romney, who in 1969 ran for president, withdrew, and later was named by President Richard Nixon as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

(George Romney’s wife, Lenore, made an unsuccessful 1970 bid against Democratic Senator Philip A. Hart.)

Also included in the large cast of speculation about the State Department last week was former 2006-2014 Ford CEO Alan Mulally. The Detroit News said, “he is credited with leading the Dearborn automaker through a rocky period that saw Ford emerge as the only U.S.-based company not to take a bailout from the federal government in 2008 and 2009.”

Weeks ago, reports surfaced that Trump was considering Ronna Romney McDaniel, niece of Mitt Romney, to be the next chair of the Republican National Committee.

She told the Associated Press, “I’d be interested in whatever Mr. Trump wants,” although noting she plans to seek the state GOP chairmanship again.

The Detroit News said: “Appointing McDaniel to run the GOP’s political arm could be an effort to help the party heal the anger after a campaign in which Trump demeaned women.”

Last week, CNN cited Michigan Supreme Court Justice Joan Larsen among three possible nominees for the U.S. Supreme Court vacancy.

In his Friday “Thank You Tour” of states that helped get him the nomination visit to Grand Rapids, Trump hailed “the incredible people of Michigan,” and had this crack about fellow Republican Governor Rick Snyder, who did not endorse Trump: “It would have been nice if I had a little help from your governor.”

At that event, Betsy DeVos said: “It’s time to make education great again.”

George Weeks, a member of the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame, for 22 years was political columnist for The Detroit News and previously with UPI as Lansing bureau chief and foreign editor in Washington. His weekly Michigan Politics column is syndicated by Superior Features.

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