Not Hiring: Former Trump Cabinet Struggling To Find New Work
Being able to put “former cabinet secretary” on your resumé usually is the golden ticket to high-paying corporate directorships, consulting gigs and speaking engagements that secure your financial future. For many who aligned themselves with former president Donald Trump and served in his administration, they’re having doors slammed in their faces.
Corporate headhunters and advisers are finding that there is little interest in the business community in hiring people who were in close orbit to the twice-impeached former president who pushed the big lie of election fraud and is widely seen to have incited the deadly insurrectionist riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Offering a board seat or high level executive position to those who enabled Trump’s polarizing policies is seen as a surefire way of inviting a revolt from customers, employees and shareholders.
For example, Elaine Chao, Trump’s transportation secretary and wife of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), was paid millions of dollars over the past decade for serving on the boards of directors for huge publicly-traded companies like Dole Foods and Wells Fargo. She also is the first Asian American woman to hold a cabinet position, having served as labor secretary under George W. Bush.
But now, according to a report in the Washington Post, headhunters are saying that her resumé’s most recent entry – political ally of Donald Trump – makes corporate executives wary of bringing her on board. Chao’s not the only former senior Trump official being shunned.
William Barr, Trump’s sycophantic attorney general, isn’t being welcomed back to his former law firm Kirkland and Ellis. Mike Pompeo, Trump’s secretary of state, hasn’t lined up any corporate gigs and instead is working as “senior counsel for global affairs” for the American Center for Law and Justice, an evangelical Christian rights organization founded by Pat Roberston.
To put the former Trump administration cabinet members’ job market in context, by this point in 2009 four former members of Bush’s cabinet had locked up corporate directorships.
“Boards don’t need trouble or criticism,” one headhunter told the Post. “If you want to stay away from all that potential tarnish, that’s easy: You just don’t go near it.”