Donald Trump’s presidential transition team includes his Jewish daughter and son-in-law, among other family members.
Four of the president-elect’s five adult children are on the team, including Ivanka Trump. Her husband, Jared Kushner, a publisher and, like Ivanka, an heir to a real estate fortune, is also on the team.
Kushner became one of Trump’s closest advisers during the campaign. Among the issues in which he was involved were relations with Israel.
The transition team includes advisers known for their closeness both to the right-wing pro-Israel community and to Sheldon Adelson, the casino magnate who is a major pro-Israel donor and who backed Trump’s campaign with tens of millions of dollars.
Among these are Newt Gingrich, the former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives who reportedly is being considered for secretary of state or health secretary under Trump, and Rudy Giuliani, the former New York mayor, who may become attorney-general.
Gingrich led the successful bid by Congress to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in 1995, although no president has yet to adopt it.
Also on the team is Steve Mnuchin, a longtime banker who was finance chairman of the campaign and who, like Kushner, is a scion of one of New York’s best-known Jewish families. Mnuchin is being considered for the post of secretary of the treasury.
The campaign CEO, Stephen Bannon, is also on the team. Bannon took a break from running Breitbart, the right-wing news site that has peddled conspiracy theories that echo themes prevalent among anti-Semites on the alt-right, to lead Trump’s campaign. He has said he wants to return to Breitbart, but also has been touted as a possible chief of staff in a Trump administration.
On Nov. 10, a disability advocacy group, RespectAbility, posted what it said was an internal Trump transition team document titled: “Trump Cabinet Possibilities.” The list comports with media reports of people being considered for Cabinet position by Trump.
In addition to Gingrich, Giuliani and Mnuchin as possible choices, other figures who are Jewish or who are close to the right-wing pro-Israel community include:
–Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback as secretary of agriculture. Brownback in 2008 ran for president, and made his support for Israel central to his campaign, including an emphasis on recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital – a move Trump has pledged he would make.
–Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry as secretary of agriculture or secretary of commerce. Perry has close ties to the community of Republican Jewish donors.
–Lew Eisenberg as secretary of commerce. Eisenberg, a financier, was one of a small cadre of Republican Jewish Coalition board members who did not run away from the Trump candidacy. Eisenberg was a major contributor to groups backing Trump’s election. Trump stirred concerns among Republican Jews for his equivocation on Israel issues at the outset of his campaign – though he later walked back many of those positions, and for his broadsides against minorities and misogynistic comments about women.
–John Bolton as secretary of state. Bolton, as a foreign policy official in multiple Republican administrations, has long been revered in the pro-Israel community for his lead role in the United Nations’ 1991 rescission of the 1975 “Zionism is Racism” resolution. Among foreign policy think-tankers, he has been the most forceful in recent years in advocating military action to get Iran to end its nuclear program.
–Carl Icahn, the activist investor, also is under consideration for treasury secretary, according to the document.
RespectAbility, led by Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, who for years was prominent in the pro-Israel community, decried the absence on the list of people who were familiar with the disability community.
Mizrahi listed an array of Republican officials who had experience in advancing disability rights and opportunities as possible choices for the Trump team. “It is vital for the Trump administration to reflect America, including talented people with disabilities,” she said in a statement.