By James MANNION, November 10, 2016
WASHINGTON (AFP) - As his new administration takes shape, President-elect Donald Trump's cabinet choices will tell whether he intends to lean on a conventional Republican bench to govern or break out in a new direction.
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.
They will almost certainly be rewarded with key posts. Other picks could come from the private sector.
Here are some of the names being mentioned:
Gingrich, 73, is tipped to be the next secretary of state.
A mercurial 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.
But 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.
An early Trump supporter, Gingrich reportedly made the New York billionaire's shortlist of potential vice presidential running mates but was passed over in favor of Indiana Governor Mike Pence.
Twice divorced with three children, he has been married to Calista Gingrich since 2000.
Giuliani, 72, a former mayor of New York and prosecutor, is seen as at the front of the line to be attorney general, having gone through the campaign's highs and lows.
He was the first to get a shoutout from Trump early Wednesday.
"He's unbelievable. Unbelievable. He traveled with us and he went through meetings, and Rudy never changes," Trump enthused.
Giuliani was celebrated as the determined face of New York after the September 11, 2001 attacks that toppled the World Trade Center.
As mayor of the city from 1994 to 2001 he was credited with lowering the rate of violent crime and making major improvements in the quality of life in America's biggest and most complex metropolis.
As US attorney for the Southern District of New York he prosecuted major Mafia cases and Wall Street corruption.
He ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008 but withdrew after learning he had prostate cancer.
Twice divorced, he has been married to Judith Nathan since 2003. He has two children.
The New Jersey governor swung his support behind Trump after his 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 on November 4.
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.
Christie is married to Mary Pat Foster. They have four children.
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.
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.
Wisconsin was in Trump's win column, a stunning Republican breakthrough in a state that has long voted for Democrats for president.
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.
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.
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."
After amassing a fortune working at Goldman Sachs, the Yale graduate became a movie producer, founding a company involved in bringing out a number of box office hits, including the "X-Men" franchise, "Avatar," and "American Sniper."
A retired lieutenant general, Flynn served as a campaign surrogate who gave Trump credibility with veterans despite the candidate's lack of military service.
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 administration's handling of the threat posed by the Islamic State group.
He was a keynote speaker at the Republican National Convention and was mentioned as a possible Trump running mate.
He could be rewarded with a top security position like national security adviser.