WASHINGTON, U.S. - With most polls predicting a Hillary Clinton victory, even Donald Trump's campaign insiders have been thrown off by his unexpected win. The president-elect and his ...
• Top job of secretary of state may go to Newt Gingrich
• Reince Priebus could be White House chief of staff
• Steve Munuchin is the favorite for treasury secretary
WASHINGTON, U.S. - With most polls predicting a Hillary Clinton victory, even Donald Trump's campaign insiders have been thrown off by his unexpected win.
The president-elect and his team now have their work cut out for them, having to fill about 4,000 government positions, including some of the most important posts in the U.S. government.
It is especially an opportunity for a cadre of loyalists, many of whom backed him when few others would, to become some of the highest-ranking officials in the U.S. government.
Trump gave shoutouts in his victory speech early Wednesday to the handful of Republican politicians who stood by him in the bruising White House race.
Among them is Rudy Giuliani, the ex-New York City mayor who became one of Trump's highest-profile surrogates. The former prosecutor could now be in line for attorney general.
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi may be in contention too.
Reince Priebus, 44, the Republican National Committee chair who has stood behind Trump since he gained the nomination, is among the favourites to be White House chief of staff.
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.
The top job of secretary of state may go to staunch Trump supporter Newt Gingrich.
Senator Bob Corker is another one in contention for the job.
He is the current chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Hawkish former U.S. Ambassador to the UN John Bolton is also rumored to be in line for the position.
Gingrich said he wanted to take on a “chief planner” role in the new administration. “I want to be able to work strategically,” Gingrich told Fox radio host John Gibson in an interview on Wednesday.
Goldman Sachs veteran Steve Munuchin is the future POTUS’ favorite for the treasury secretary’s job.
This Goldman Sachs veteran of 17 years is a major Trump campaign donor and supporter.
Former CEO of General Electric Jack Welch is also being mentioned for that position.
Oil and gas tycoon Harold Hamm could be the next energy secretary.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, 54, has been mentioned for various posts in a Trump administration, including attorney general or commerce secretary.
Christie even appeared on stage with Trump, where he was notably the person closest to the president-elect outside his family.
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.
The secretary of defense portfolio could go to former NSA Stephen Hadley; Senator from Alabama Jeff Sessions and former Senator Jim Talent could be in the running too.
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.
Top confidante Lt-Gen Mike Flynn (retd) would need a congressional waiver to get the portfolio as military officers need to wait seven years to accept a post at the Pentagon - by law. He may end up as NSA for now.
A former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency from 2012-2014, Flynn was reportedly forced out of that post after clashing with his superiors.
During the campaign, he was sharply critical of the Obama's administration’s handling of the threat posed by the Islamic State group.
Forrest Lucas of Lucas Oil could get the post of interior secretary.
So could venture capitalist Robert Grady.
A surprise choice could be Sarah Palin, who said Trump’s call for a ban on Muslims was “common sense.” She has also said that she wants immigrants to “speak American.”
Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who endorsed Trump after dropping out of the 2016 Republican primaries, is possible education secretary. During his campaign, Cason said a U.S. president could not be Muslim unless he or she renounces the religion's system of laws and governance.
There is likelihood that Trump will staff his administration with many from the business world.
Two of Donald Trump’s children are also being considered for government positions, but there has been no confirmation yet.
If one of them does make it, it would be the first time that a president’s family member held a government position since John F. Kennedy in the 1960s.
And then there is Trump's running mate Mike Pence.
The Indiana governor is believed to be more popular than his boss, particularly among the conservatives. He is likely to have a major portfolio.
As Trump's new administration takes shape, the president-elect's cabinet choices will tell whether he intends to lean on a conventional Republican bench to govern or break out in a new direction.