President-elect Donald Trump filled two more positions in his administration Wednesday but uncertainty swirled over whether former rival Ben Carson would accept a post.
Trump nominated billionaire Betsy DeVos as education secretary and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
A spokesman for Carson said the retired neurosurgeon had accepted an offer to become secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development but later retracted the statement, saying no decision had been made. Carson confirmed Tuesday he was under active consideration for the job.
DeVos, a Republican activist from Michigan, is the wife of billionaire Richard DeVos Jr., the son of Amway co-founder Richard DeVos Sr., and a strong proponent of school choice. The announcement brought swift reaction from National Education Association President Lily Eskelsen Garcia, who said in a statement DeVos supports a corporate agenda “to privatize, deprofessionalize and impose cookie-cutter solutions to public education.”
Haley, 44, said she hadn’t campaigned for a Cabinet position and didn’t expect one since she often was at odds with Trump during the campaign, having described herself as not a fan of the real estate mogul. Trump called her “weak on illegal immigration.”
In nominating Haley, however, Trump praised her as someone with “a proven track record of bringing people together regardless of background or party affiliation.” Haley, who is the first minority and youngest of his nominees so far, said she accepted the appointment out of a sense of duty. She has no background in foreign policy.
Retired Gen. David Patraeus, ousted as head of the CIA amid revelations he had turned over secrets to a lover who was writing his biography, told the BBC he would serve in the Trump administration if asked.
Here’s who Trump has selected for his administration so far:
Chief of staff: Republican party Chairman Reince Priebus
Chief White House strategist: Stephen K. Bannon, head of alt-right Breitbart News
Attorney general: Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala.
CIA director: Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan.
National security adviser: retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn
Education secretary: billionaire Republican activist Betsy DeVos
U.S. ambassador to the U.N.: South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley
Top jobs still to be filled:
State: Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is seen as the leading candidate
Defense: Retired Army Gen. Jack Keane said he declined the job. Still in the running are retired Marine Gen. James Mattis and Stephen Hadley, former national security adviser to George W. Bush.
Interior: Venture capitalist Robert Grady and Lucas Oil founder Forrest Lucas are seen as the leading candidates.
Agriculture: Possible candidates include former Govs. Dave Neineman of Nebraska, Sonny Perdue of Georgia and Rick Perry of Texas, and current Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback.
Commerce: Billionaire investor Wilbur Ross is seen as the leading candidate along with investor Lew Eisenberg.
Labor: Equal Employment Opportunity Commissioner Victoria Lipnic reportedly is seen as the leading candidate.
Health and Human Services: Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., and former Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal are reported under consideration.
Housing and Urban Development: Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson is reportedly considering the appointment.
Transportation: Former Rep. Harold Ford Jr., D-Tenn., a friend of Trump’s children, is seen as a leading candidate.
Energy: Oklahoma billionaire oilman Harold Hamm is seen as a leading candidate.
Veterans Affairs: Retiring Rep. Jeff Miller, chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, and former Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., are reported under consideration.
Homeland Security: House Homeland Security Chairman Mike McCaul, R-Texas, has said he’s interested in the job.
Environmental Protection Agency: Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and climate skeptic Myron Ebell are reportedly leading contenders.
Office of Management and Budget: Trump transition team member Eric Ueland and former Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn are seen as leading candidates.
Director of National Intelligence: Former New York Mayor Rudi Giuliani and National Security Agency Director Adm. Mike Rogers reportedly are under consideration.