For a while it looked as though the upper echelons of the incoming Trump administration would be populated largely by wealthy white men in their latter years with little experience in governing.
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The president-elect is a 70-year-old billionaire real estate and entertainment mogul. Commerce Secretary-to-be Wilbur Ross is a 79-year-old billionaire bottom-fishing investor. Treasury Secretary-to-be Steve Mnuchin, a tadpole at 53, is a multi-millionaire investor and former Goldman Sachs executive. White House strategist and president-elect-whisperer Steve Bannon is a 63-year-old millionaire publisher and filmmaker who also once worked at Goldman. Attorney General-to-be Jeff Sessions is a 69-year-old millionaire (though he does have deep experience as a senator and Alabama politician).
However, that seems to be changing fast, at least in the gender department. The new batch of official nominees and candidates for cabinet-level positions include a group of women diverse in age and ethnicity.
In fact, Trump could wind up with more women in cabinet-level positions than the six currently serving in the Obama administration. But like the men appointed so far, almost every one of them is a billionaire, multi-millionaire or millionaire, though some have had governing experience.
Betsy DeVos, the Education Secretary-to-be and wife of Amway heir Dick DeVos, is a 58-year-old billionaire with no formal government experience. Elaine Chao, the pick for Transportation Secretary, is a 63-year-old multi-millionaire; she was born in Taiwan and is a former Labor Secretary married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Nikki Haley, 44, the South Carolina governor who Trump wants to appoint as ambassador to the UN, is from a family of Indian Sikhs, and while not fabulously wealthy, she qualifies as a millionaire.
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Now two more candidates who are women have popped up: Former Alaska governor and 2008 vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, 52, is being talked about as a potential secretary of Veterans Affairs. And Linda McMahon, the former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment and a twice unsuccessful candidate for senator from Connecticut, could be tapped as chief of the Small Business Administration.
Both fit the gold-plated mold. Palin is said to be worth about $12 million, and the fortune McMahon and her husband Vince amassed from professional wrestling is said to be as much as $500 million.
An analysis by the website Five Thirty Eight points to lower education levels rather than lower income levels as a crucial common denominator among Trump voters. But there is no question that white, working-class Americans helped propel Donald Trump to the presidency. And there is a certain irony in the fact his so-called populist movement is leading to government led by the ultra-rich.