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Meet the men (and woman) who could be running America from January

Veteran Republican politicians who backed the businessman through thick and thin are likely to fill top cabinet roles.

DONALD TRUMP IS now expected to turn his attention to the formation of this cabinet, in the wake of his shock win in the race for the White House yesterday.

A small coterie of supporters who stuck with the businessman through thick and thin are likely to be rewarded with high-profile roles.

Veteran Republicans Newt Gingrich and Rudy Giuliani are thought to be shoo-ins for cabinet jobs – while Chris Christie, the combative and controversial New Jersey Governor, is also set to feature.

Among the more unexpected potential names on the list is former Alaska Governor and 2008 vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin.

So who are the names being linked with the top roles?

Newt Gingrich

Campaign 2016 Trump Source: Evan Vucci

Gingrich, 73, is tipped to be the next secretary of state.

A former speaker of the House of Representatives, the former Georgia lawmaker was the architect of a 1994 Republican insurgency that ended four decades of Democratic control of the chamber.

He was forced to resign the speakership four years later because of ethics violations.

He remained an influential Republican ideas man, writer and political consultant in his years out of office. He made an unsuccessful run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2011.

Gingrich reportedly made the New York billionaire’s shortlist of potential vice presidential running mates but was passed over in favour of Mike Pence.

Rudy Giuliani

Giuliani, 72, a former mayor of New York and prosecutor, is seen as at the front of the line to be attorney general, having stuck with Trump through the campaign’s highs and lows.

Campaign 2016 Trump Source: Craig Ruttle

Giuliani was New York mayor on 9/11, and was credited with lowering the rate of violent crime in the city during his near decade-long tenure in the role.

As US attorney for the Southern District of New York he prosecuted major Mafia cases and Wall Street corruption.

While other Trump surrogates faded from view at various points in the campaign, Giuliani went to bat for him after some of the candidate’s biggest scandals.

He went on a number of Sunday news programmes, for instance, in the wake of the emergence of that Access Hollywood tape in which Trump could be heard talking about grabbing women without consent. It was reported at the time that other members of the campaign team had shied away from the opportunity to defend him on TV.

Chris Christie

The New Jersey Governor swung his support behind Trump after his own bid for the Republican nomination fizzled.

Christie, 54, has been mentioned for various posts in a Trump administration, including attorney general or commerce secretary.

The burly, blustery Christie is considered a large Republican political talent.

But he comes with a major liability: a scandal over the closure of a major bridge linking New Jersey and New York, allegedly to punish a local mayor. Two former aides to Christie were convicted of all charges in the case last week.

Christie Traffic Jams Source: Mel Evans

During the Republican primary debates, Christie helped Trump by damaging rival Marco Rubio with a scathing attack on the Florida senator’s scripted answers to questions.

A former US attorney, Christie later headed Trump’s transition team and was reportedly on the shortlist for his vice presidential running mate.

Reince Priebus

Priebus, 44, is said to be the inside favorite to be Trump’s White House chief of staff.

The morning after Tuesday’s stunning victory, he was huddled with the president-elect at Trump Tower in New York.

Republican Strengths and Weaknesses Source: AP/Press Association Images

As chairman of the Republican National Committee, Priebus provided Trump with a crucial link to the party’s resources in getting out the vote as well as to a skittish Republican leadership.

A lawyer with deep roots in Wisconsin’s Republican party, Priebus is close to House Speaker Paul Ryan, a fellow Wisconsinite who will be key to passage of the new administration’s legislative agenda.

Jeff Sessions

The US senator from Alabama, a Trump supporter when other leading Republicans were dead set against his candidacy, is being touted as a possible Secretary of Defense.

At his victory bash in New York, Trump hailed the 69-year-old Sessions as “the first man, first senator, first major, major politician” to endorse him.

“Let me tell you, he is highly respected in Washington because he is as smart as you get,” Trump said.

Campaign 2016 Trump Hat Sessions wears a 'Make Mexico Great Again Also' cap in advance of a Trump rally. Source: Matt York

One of the senate’s most conservative members, Sessions has opposed nearly every Democratic initiative under President Barack Obama, including the Affordable Care Act and the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ – the ban on gays serving in the military.

A supporter of the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, he sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee, the Judiciary Committee, the Budget Committee and the committee on environment and public works.

Steven Mnuchin

Trump’s campaign finance chairman, Mnuchin is reported to be the likely choice for Treasury secretary.

A veteran of Goldman Sachs with deep connections in Wall Street, Mnuchin would be a relatively conventional pick for a president-elect who campaigned as a populist fighting a “rigged system”.

Michael Flynn

A retired lieutenant general, Flynn served as a campaign surrogate who gave Trump credibility with veterans despite the candidate’s lack of military service.

He could be rewarded with a top security position like national security adviser.

Sarah Palin?

There’s speculation that Sarah Palin, John McCain’s pick as running mate back in 2008, could be in the frame for a role.

The former Governor spoke at an event in support of Trump during the campaign and was a guest at one of the debates, but didn’t attend the businessman’s nominating convention during the summer (Trump said she couldn’t go because it was “a long ways away” from Alaska to Cleveland).

GOP 2016 Trump Source: David Zalubowski

According to Politico, “a person who spoke to the Trump campaign told POLITICO that the aides have also discussed tapping Sarah Palin for Interior secretary. Trump has said he’d like to put Palin in his cabinet, and Palin has made no secret of her interest”.

Dr Ben Carson, another of Trump’s vanquished opponents from the GOP primary campaign, is being considered for a number of roles by the transition team, according to a shortlist of names obtained by Buzzfeed News.

With reporting by AFP 

Read: Trump could be on the witness stand over university lawsuit just weeks before becoming President >

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