Hillary Clinton said it takes a village. Donald Trump said he and he alone can fix things. Presidential bluster and treacle aside, Clinton was more correct on this one. A president’s first highly scrutinized moves will be hires—cabinet moves and White House aides—as well as how they interact with key world leaders. Here are 10 key figures to watch in the new era:
1. Ivanka Trump. Trump has said he’ll shift control of his business empire to his children, but they’ve also been his top political advisers, none more so than his eldest daughter. Dad may ask her to join his inner circle. He can even set her up with a penthouse down the street at the new Trump D.C. hotel.
2. Mike Pence. In July, CNN reported that Donald Trump Jr. suggested Ohio Gov. John Kasich could become the most powerful vice-president ever, in charge of domestic and foreign policy. In that scenario, President Trump would focus on “making America great again.” Expect similar heavy lifting to be left for Pence, the VP-elect, a former congressman and current Indiana governor, while Trump steers clear of the pesky nitty-gritty of government.
3. James Comey. The FBI director may have been in trouble in a Clinton administration, but Trump may want his agency to keep going after his Democratic rival’s emails and donations, and perhaps investigate other Trump critics. This could become the most politicized investigative agency in generations.
4. Jan Brewer. The former Arizona governor was one of the most senior female Trump surrogates, and could land in his cabinet. She was very tough on illegal immigrants in her state, and was abrasive when Barack Obama and the courts challenged her tactics. That’s the sort of defiance a President Trump might like.
5. Rudy Giuliani. He swapped out his reputation as New York’s 9/11 mayor this year for a new claim to fame: Trump’s loudest and most conspiracy-minded defender. Political observers have tabbed him for a post like Homeland Security, a major role in a nationalistic Trump administration.
6. Chris Christie — The New Jersey governor and former presidential candidate has led Trump’s transition team, and seemed on track to become attorney-general. Those ambitions were perhaps derailed by his aides’ conviction for closing a major Jersey-New York bridge as political payback, a scheme Christie’s hands were reportedly all over.
7. Bobby Knight. Why does a hotheaded former college basketball coach make this list? Well, why did he become a major Trump campaign speaker? Expect this sort of unconventional outsider to make the inner circle of a Trump White House.
8. Paul Ryan. The most powerful Republican in Congress spent much of the campaign opposing who will soon be the most powerful man in America. Trump allies and conservatives in the House of Representatives may try to oust the compromise-minded speaker and install a Trump ally who can rubber-stamp his reform agenda.
9. Justin Trudeau. Canada’s Prime Minister said he’d welcome and work with any new president. In Trump, he has a neighbouring leader who thinks climate change is a hoax, wants to shred NAFTA and thinks Syrian refugees are terrorists-in-waiting. On the bright side for Trudeau, Keystone XL pipeline should get built now.
10. Vladimir Putin. The happiest man outside Trump Tower calls the Kremlin home. Russia’s president clearly favoured a Trump win, both through rhetoric and apparent cyber-espionage. Not only does Putin get a ready, albeit volatile ally on Syria and a weakened NATO, he also gets a weakened America and a potent message to his citizens that liberal democracy brings inherent dangers.