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When Previous US Presidents Announced Their Top Cabinet Picks

President George W. Bush (center) poses with President-elect Barack Obama, and former presidents, from left, George H.W. Bush, left, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, Jan. 7, 2009, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington.

A major decision for a newly elected president is who will fill key Cabinet positions. With Donald Trump a week into his planning for taking over the White House January 20, here is a look at when his predecessors announced their picks for the most high profile posts.

Barack Obama
Election held November 4, 2008

  • Secretary of State: Hillary Clinton, December 1
  • Treasury Secretary: Timothy Geithner, November 24
  • Defense Secretary: Robert Gates, December 1
  • Attorney General: Eric Holder, December 1

George W. Bush
Election held November 7, 2000 (declared winner after December 12 Supreme Court ruling)

  • Secretary of State: Colin Powell, December 16
  • Treasury Secretary: Paul O’Neill, December 20
  • Defense Secretary: Donald Rumsfeld, December 28
  • Attorney General: John Ashcroft, December 22

Bill Clinton
Election held November 3, 1992

  • Secretary of State: Warren Christopher, December 22
  • Treasury Secretary: Lloyd Bentsen, December 10
  • Defense Secretary: Les Aspin, December 22
  • Attorney General: Zoe Baird*, December 24

George H.W. Bush
Election held November 8, 1988

  • Secretary of State: James Baker, November 9
  • Treasury Secretary: Nicholas Brady, November 15
  • Defense Secretary: John Tower**, December 16
  • Attorney General: Richard Thornburgh, November 21

Ronald Reagan
Election date November 4, 1980

  • Secretary of State: Alexander Haig, December 16
  • Treasury Secretary: Donald Regan, December 11
  • Defense Secretary: Caspar Weinberger, December 11
  • Attorney General: William French Smith, December 11

Jimmy Carter
Election held November 2, 1976

  • Secretary of State: Cyrus Vance, December 3
  • Treasury Secretary: W. Michael Blumenthal, December 14
  • Defense Secretary: Harold Brown, December 21
  • Attorney General: Griffin Bell, December 20

*nomination withdrawn before Senate confirmation
**rejected by Senate

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