President-elect Donald Trump announced several administrative positions on Wednesday (7 December), and officially confirmed two appointments. The Republican announced Linda McMahon as administrator of the Small Business Administration,and Iowa Governor Terry Branstad as US ambassador to China.
Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt is also now heavily expected to lead the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), while General John Kelly has been tipped as the next Secretary of Homeland Security.
From WWE to Small Business Administration
Trump announced his intention to nominate World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) co-founder Linda McMahon as the Administrator of the Small Business Administration (SBA). The president-elect said McMahon will help push his agenda of bringing jobs back to the US and rolling back regulations.
"Our small businesses are the largest source of job creation in the country," McMahon said in a statement released by the Trump transition team. "I am honoured to join the incredibly impressive economic team that President-elect Trump has assembled to ensure that we promote our country's small businesses and help them grow and thrive."
CNBC reported that the wrestling magnate was a major Trump backer during the campaign, donating $6m to a pro-Trump super PAC. The SBA, which has an office in all 50 states, helps with financing and training for small businesses and entrepreneurs.
Branstad to China
In announcing his pick for US ambassador to China, the president-elect said the Iowa Republican had a "long-time relationship with Chinese President Xi Jinping." He added Branstad was the "ideal choice" to serve as ambassador.
"He successfully developed close trade ties with China while serving as chief executive of the Hawkeye State. That experience will serve him well as he represents America's interests and further develops a mutually beneficial relationship with Chinese leadership," Trump said in a statement.
China reacts warmly to Branstad's nomination
Should Branstad's nomination goes through, The Washington Post reports it could help reassure China's leaders that the incoming president understands the importance of bilateral relations. China's Foreign Ministry has not confirmed the appointment but is understood to have reacted warmly to the news.
"First of all, I would like to say that Mr Branstad is an old friend of the Chinese people and we welcome him to play a greater role in promoting Sino-US relations," spokesman Lu Tang said during a news conference.
"The US ambassador to China serves as an important bridge linking the governments of the US and China. We are willing to work with whomever takes his position to strive for the continued, sound and steady development of bilateral ties."
Oklahoma attorney general to lead EPA?
Trump has unofficially chosen Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to lead the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a transition source told The Hill. If confirmed by the Senate, Pruitt would work to dismantle EPA regulations which Trump has declared as job killers during his campaign.
A long-time opposer of President Barack Obama's executive actions and regulations, Pruitt is likely to help the incoming president dismantle Obama's entire executive climate change agenda, The Hill reported. This would include the Clean Power Plan, which Trump has promised to tackle during his first 100 days in office. Democrats and environmentalists are already rejecting Pruitt's nomination.
Another general for Trump's Cabinet
Earlier on Wednesday, it was revealed that the president-elect would nominate General John Kelly as the next Secretary of Homeland Security. If appointed, Kelly will become the third general joining Trump's Cabinet along with General James Mattis as Secretary of Defense and Lt. General Michael Flynn as National Security Adviser.