The best people for the job, part 1
Let's take a look at Trump's cabinet appointments so far, and see how they stack up against his and his fans' promises that he's motivated by putting "the best, most qualified people" in various places throughout his administration. I kind of suspect that he's not, based on Betsy Devos and Ben Carson, so I'm just going to critically analyze the experience and qualifications of each one of them, in light of what the agency/appointment they've been placed in actually does.
I'm mostly going to be skipping his advisory appointments, in favor of focusing on people who actually formally have power to do things. I don't believe Trump will actually listen to his advisors much, regardless of their qualifications (or astonishing lack thereof in a few cases -- I'm looking at you, Rudy Giuliani).
White House Chief of Staff
This person is basically an extremely advanced form of office manager. They manage White House staff, control chains of command and information flow, and are empowered to negotiate with outside entities on behalf of the president. You need somebody who is politically adept, and very good at managing people.
Reince Priebus: totes qualified
Priebus is an attorney and long-time political player. He knows people throughout government, and having served as RNC chairman is experienced leading political organizations. I might personally think he's an asshole, and find his politics repugnant, but I can't argue that he has the chops to do the job.
White House Chief Strategist
Steve Bannon: literally a white supremacist
This is a new position, created by Trump, just for Steve Bannon. As such, we don't really know what the qualifications are. Steve Bannon comes to the White House after running Breitbart News -- a news site that is openly aimed at promoting the alt-right movement, who are openly white nationalists. I don't care what his qualifications are, because he is literally a white supremacist.
Office of Management and Budget
The OMB is probably one of the most powerful agencies you've never heard of. They interpret budget impacts, and interpret whether programs, policies, and procedures are compliant with the president's budget and administration policies. They have a lot of power to tell other agencies what to do. A leader here needs solid legal and civics background, and should have a broad and strong understanding of US history, policy, and our country's current foreign affairs.
Mick Mulvaney: super qualified
Mulvaney graduated withhonors with a Bachelor's in International Economics, Commerce and Finance from Georgetown. Then he got a JD from Chapel Hill with a focus on anti-trust law. He practiced law for five years, was part-owner of a restaurant chain, and participated in management leadership programs at Harvard. His academic and private sector experience credentials are impeccable. I may find his political views gross, but I can't argue that his pedigree is spotless. He's absolutely qualified to do the job.
Negotiates on behalf of the country in foreign trade deals, and advises the president on trade policy.
Robert Lighthizer: oddly low profile
Lighthizer has worked in the trade-oriented portions of government for a very long time. He was even deputy trade representative under Reagan. Despite that, public information about his actions and political views is strangely absent. I can't entirely say how qualified he is.
Secretary of Commerce
The leader of the Department of Commerce it tasked with the mission to "promote job creation and improved living standards for all Americans by creating an infrastructure that promotes economic growth, technological competitiveness, and sustainable development."
Wilbur Ross: champion of the elite
Ross is a multibillionaire, who has spent his life involved in investment banking, fossil fuels, manufacturing, and mining. He has been involved in numerous scandals involving his company International Coal Group. ICG has been protested by the United Mine Workers of America for abusing bankruptcy regulations to allow it to avoid unions, paying for health care, and providing retirement benefits. ICG has also been sued twice by investors in the last two years, and been fined by the SEC for misappropriation of funds. Ross was also intimately involved with the Sago Mine disaster in which 12 miners died in 2005. Ross is currently under investigation by the Department of Labor and the State of West Virginia, as it appears as if he was personally aware of the safety problems at the mine, and personally responsible for those same safety problems being neglected.
Ross is a garbage person, and is antithetical to the "improved living standards" and "sustainable development" portions of the mission of the agency he has been tapped to lead. He is also so racked by scandal and criminal investigation that he should not be anywhere near the halls of government.
Secretary of Defense
I think we all know what this person does. They need extensive military experience, and a powerful understanding of historical and current geopolitics.
James Mattis: outstanding candidate, but bloodthirsty
Mattis is retired four-star general in the Marine Corps. He has seen combat leadership roles in the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan, and and Iraq. Since then he's served in a number of high-level command groups.
I also happen to be on the same page as him politically on several fronts. I'm personally astonished that Trump nominated him, because he is completely at odds with Trump in terms of the value of NATO, and recent expansionist aggression by Russia. He also supports a two-state solution in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, which I firmly believe is the only reasonable path.
His only stain is his weirdly bloodthirsty remarks about how "fun" it is to kill people. That sort of attitude is...not great. Pretty disgusting, in fact.
Secretary of Education
The Department of Education oversees public education in the country, and charged with the mission "to promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access." A good candidate should have a firm understanding of public education and the policies that impact it.
Betsy DeVos: dangerously unqualified know-nothing
DeVos has never academically studied education. She has never attended a public school. No one in her family has attended a public school. She has never sent one of her children to a public school. She has never worked for or with a public school. This includes public colleges, because her family is rich enough to send them all to private colleges. She knows nothing about the vitally important cultural institutions she has been tasked to steer, and in fact despises them and has spent her life attempting to dismantle these things she knows nothing about.
DeVos is 100% unacceptable as a choice for leading the Department of Education.
To be continued
There's a lot to unpack and analyze in the list of appointments, and this is going to be a pretty good-size project if I want to actually personally research every one of them. Stay tuned.