Fallin's Spot On Trump Team Could Mean Cabinet Post
OKLAHOMA CITY - After meeting with President-elect Donald Trump last week about a potential cabinet spot, Gov. Mary Fallin is now a member of the presidential transition team as a vice-chair.
The announcement from Trump's Transition team shows Fallin joining 12 other party heavy hitters, including some already a part of Trump's cabinet. Among them Trump's chosen Attorney General Senator Jeff Sessions, Retired Gen. Michael Flynn who is set to be Trump's National Security Advisor, and Dr. Ben Carson, who was tapped to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development after saying he, a neurosurgeon, was unqualified for the Department of Health and Human Services.
Fallin is rumored to be a top pick for Secretary of the Interior, but said last week she hasn't been offered a job yet. Still, political analysts are watching the appointments closely, the list of vice-chairs looking more like a test run for a presidential cabinet after a divisive campaign.
“The term we use historically is a kitchen cabinet. Although some of these people will actually be in a position of authority,” Chair of Political Science and History at Oklahoma City University Dr. Richard Johnson said. “One of the things that's really clear about trump that I hear from all sources is that loyalty is a big deal.”
Johnson added loyalty can be a “double edged sword.” He said rewarding loyalists from the campaign trail with cabinet spots is nothing new, but overloading an administration can lead to echo-chambers and a lack of dissent or outside thinking.
While Fallin's new spot is volunteer and unpaid, taxpayers will likely be on the hook for the governor's travel and security expenses, at least indirectly. The Presidential transition is supported by federal tax dollars. It's unclear how much that would be, but reports show up to $2 million a day are spent on security for Turmp and a plane ticket from Oklahoma City to New york can cost anywhere from $750 to $1,000 for a first-class commercial ticket. Money that could likely lead to her spot in Trump's White House.
“I think the fact that he keeps coming back to her and that he's elevated her to this situation, I would be very surprised if she didn't get Department of Interior,” Johnson said.