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Trump’s Cabinet picks so far are worth a combined $11b

Clockwise from top left: Betsy DeVos, Steven Mnuchin, Wilbur Ross, Elaine Chao, Jeff Sessions, and Tom Price.wire photos

President-elect Donald Trump boasted about his wealth during his campaign. Now he’s surrounding himself with people who have similarly unimaginable riches.

Collectively, the wealth of his Cabinet choices so far is roughly four times greater than President Obama’s Cabinet and nearly 30 times greater than the one George W. Bush led at the end of his presidency.

And Trump has named less than half the group of advisers so far.

The net worth of the Cabinet Trump had selected as of Thursday was at least $11 billion, based on available estimates, or more than the annual gross domestic product of about 50 small countries.


That included the $3.7 billion Trump is estimated to be worth, according to Forbes. (Trump has claimed to be worth much more — around $10 billion.)

It also included the $5.1 billion in net worth that Forbes estimated belongs to the family of Betsy DeVos, the former Michigan Republican Party chair and education activist selected to be education secretary.

Investor Wilbur Ross, picked to become commerce secretary, is estimated to be worth $2.5 billion, according to Forbes.

Steven Mnuchin, the former Goldman Sachs executive in line to become Treasury secretary, is worth at least $46 million, according to Politico.

The pick for transportation secretary, Elaine Chao, the former labor secretary, was worth an estimated $16.9 million as of 2008, when she last held public office, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a Washington-based nonprofit that tracks campaign finance data.

Two other Cabinet picks — Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions for attorney general and Georgia Representative Tom Price for health and human services secretary — were estimated to be worth about $7.5 million and $13.6 million, respectively, as of 2014, according to the center.

One of the least wealthy members of the Cabinet was actually Trump’s running mate. Vice President-elect Mike Pence was worth about $211,000 as of 2012, data from the center show.


A wealthy bunch | Trump's cabinet picks so far
Beyond what's listed below, the president-elect still has to fill nine more official cabinet positions and five more "cabinet-rank" spots. There are also non-cabinet level appointments to make. One such pick he has already made, for deputy commerce secretary, is Chicago Cubs co-owner Todd Ricketts. He and his family are estimated to be worth $5.3 billion.
Cabinet position Name Estimated net worth
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos $5.1 billion
President Donald Trump $3.7 billion
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross $2.5 billion
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin $46 million
Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao $16.9 million
Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price $13.6 million
Attorney General Jeff Sessions $7.5 million
Vice President Mike Pence $211,000
Secretary of Defense James Mattis NA
*Chief of Staff Reince Priebus NA
*U.N. Ambassador Nikki R. Haley NA
* = "cabinet-rank" positions
Note: All are current estimates, except for Sessions and Price (2014), Pence (2012), and Chao (2008). Trump has said he is worth about $10 billion. DeVos' estimate is her family's net worth. Mnuchin's is described as "at least." SOURCES: Forbes; Center for Responsive Politics; Politico

Other wealthy people may also soon join Trump’s Cabinet.

One potential pick, oil and gas company executive Harold Hamm, who is said to be in the running for energy secretary or interior secretary, is worth an estimated $16.9 billion, according to Forbes.

Mitt Romney, said to be in the running to become secretary of state, was estimated to be worth about $250 million as of 2012.

Ben Carson, a potential pick for housing and urban development secretary, was worth $26 million as of 2015, according to Forbes.

Another contender for multiple Cabinet spots, Rudy Giuliani, is a multimillionaire, as is Andrew Puzder, who is said to be in the running to become labor secretary.

By comparison, the collective estimated net worth of Obama’s entire current Cabinet is less than $3 billion, according to available estimates. And the vast majority of that wealth is held by just one member, Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, who is worth $2.4 billion, according to Forbes.

The Cabinet that served Bush at the end of his presidency was worth about $390 million collectively.

The figures above consider only the presidents and their official Cabinet members and officials holding “cabinet-rank” positions.

The calculations do not consider other important presidential appointments.

If they did, the collective net worth of Trump’s Cabinet would grow by at least $5.3 billion. That’s what Forbes estimates Todd Ricketts and his family are worth. The Chicago Cubs co-owner has been picked to serve as deputy commerce secretary.


Another key appointment, former Breitbart executive Steve Bannon, who will be Trump’s chief strategist, is a multimillionaire, according to Politico.

Trump’s affluent Cabinet picks are, in some ways, not surprising. He touted his own wealth and business experience as being key attributes that qualified him to be president and would help him boost the country’s economy. He also regularly stressed that he wanted to upend the existing political establishment.

But Trump’s critics have said the picks represent a departure from his anti-Wall Street rhetoric during the campaign, and they’re out of touch with the working-class Americans whom he vowed to champion during the campaign.

Matt Rocheleau can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @mrochele.