WASHINGTON — Donald Trump elicited wild cheers on the campaign trail by pledging to "drain the swamp" in Washington, but the president-elect's transition team is populated largely with creatures of the capital, including former federal bureaucrats, think-tank academics, corporate lawyers and special-interest lobbyists.
An internal organizational chart for the Trump transition team lists more than 30 names, some well-known within the GOP establishment. They are tasked with helping to select and vet Trump's Cabinet, as well as map out the key policy initiatives the new administration will pursue.
Their areas of experience and policy expertise on the chart hint at future efforts to restrict abortion, strip away consumer protections, boost defense spending and dismantle environmental regulations. Key members of Trump's team are also advocates for sweeping privatization of government programs, including Social Security.
"Personnel is policy," said Republican operative Ron Kaufman, who also served in George W. Bush's White House.
The team will not necessarily carry over into the Trump administration — though members of past transition teams often have. Instead, they are in charge of putting together hiring recommendations, working with outgoing appointees and laying the groundwork for administration's opening months.
"For people who voted for him thinking that he'd shake things up, I don't think they thought he was going to privatize everything," said Dean Baker, a progressive economist and founder of the Center for Economic and Policy Research. "He runs this populist, anti-Wall Street campaign, and he turns to Wall Street and lobbying guys."
The behind-the-scenes transition operation is being run by Ron Nichol, a senior partner at The Boston Group, a management consulting firm where 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney launched his business career. A former nuclear submarine officer, Nichol oversees five teams targeted at "Agency Transformation and Innovation."
Overseeing the transition for domestic issues is Ken Blackwell, the former Ohio secretary of state, state treasurer and Cincinnati mayor. He is a senior fellow at the Family Research Council, which opposes same-sex marriage and abortion rights.
Veteran agribusiness lobbyist Michael Torrey is tasked with transforming the Agriculture Department. Energy industry lobbyist Mike McKenna, who represents electricity and chemical companies, is leading the Energy Department transition team.
For the Interior Department there is David Bernhardt, a top lawyer at the agency under President George W. Bush who represents mining companies seeking to use resources on federal lands and Indian reservations. Lobbyist Steven Hart, who focuses on tax and employee benefits, is leading the transition team for the Labor Department.
Cindy Hayden, a former congressional staffer who is now the top lobbyist for Altria, the parent company of cigarette-maker Philip Morris, is overseeing the transition for the Homeland Security Department. Jeff Eisenach, a consultant and former lobbyist who has called for deregulation of the telecommunications industry, is overseeing the transition for the Federal Communications Commission.
The man put in charge of staffing for the Social Security Administration, Michael Korbey, is a former lobbyist who led President George W. Bush's effort to privatize America's retirement system. Trump campaigned on keeping Social Security within the federal government.
One of Trump's campaign pledges was to spending up to $1 trillion over 10 years on infrastructure projects. But his selection to oversee the transition for the Transportation Department, Shirley Ybarra, has been a champion of "public-private partnerships" to build toll roads and bridges. A former Virginia state transportation secretary, Ybarra now works as a policy analyst with the libertarian-leaning Reason Foundation, which has received support from conservative billionaires David and Charles Koch.
Trump has also pledged to renegotiate the Paris climate treaty signed in December, saying efforts to restrict the carbon emissions are harming American industries such as coal mining. Trump's pick to oversee the transition for the Environmental Protection Agency is Myron Ebell from the conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute, which has voiced the false view that man-made global warming is a hoax. Ebell has called for dismantling environmental protections and assigning international carbon-cutting agreements to the "dustbin of history."
Trump has pledged to transform a national economy he said was hobbled by bad trade deals and rigged against American workers by Wall Street and the big banks. His list of advisers indicates an interest in rolling back many of the reforms made in the wake of the 2008 recession and appears to signal an interest in deregulating the financial sector.
David Malpass, who is overseeing the Treasury Department transition, was Bear Stearns' chief economist in the years before the firm's 2008 collapse. A few months before the recession began, Malpass wrote a Wall Street Journal op-ed titled "Don't Panic About the Credit Market."
"Housing and debt markets are not that big a part of the U.S. economy, or of job creation," Malpass said in August 2007, predicting continued economic growth. He has complained about the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the brainchild of progressive Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.