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Trump's latest Cabinet picks move toward diversity

  • Author: Mark Landler, Maggie Haberman, The New York Times
  • Updated: December 2, 2017
  • Published November 23, 2016

Gov. Nikki Haley with Gov. Mike Pence at the 2013 Republican Governors Association conference in Scottsdale, Arizona. REUTERS/Samantha Sais/File

WASHINGTON — President-elect Donald Trump moved swiftly to diversify his Cabinet on Wednesday, recruiting Betsy DeVos, a prominent Republican philanthropist and educational activist, as education secretary, and nearing an announcement of Ben Carson, the retired neurosurgeon who ran an outsider's campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, as secretary of housing and urban development.

Earlier in the day, Trump nominated Gov. Nikki R. Haley of South Carolina, an Indian-American who is a rising star in Republican politics, to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

DeVos and Haley would be the first women in Trump's Cabinet, while Carson would be the first African-American. But none of these choices suggest a president-elect who is reaching beyond reliably conservative circles for his key policymakers.

Donald Trump speaks next to Dr. Ben Carson during a roundtable with the Republican Leadership Initiative at Trump Tower in New York August 25, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

A major Republican fundraiser from Michigan, DeVos, 58, is a passionate believer in school choice, a subject that she and Trump discussed last week when she met him at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey. She is a member by marriage of the DeVos family, the founders of Amway and one of the largest contributors to the Michigan Republican Party.

"The status quo in education is not acceptable," DeVos said in a statement. "Together, we can work to make transformational change that ensures every student in America has the opportunity to fulfill his or her highest potential."

Trump declared, "Betsy DeVos is a brilliant and passionate education advocate. Under her leadership, we will reform the U.S. education system and break the bureaucracy that is holding our children back so that we can deliver world-class education and school choice to all families."

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