With Mark Esper's confirmation, 4 Trump Cabinet departments are now headed by former lobbyists

4 lobbyists running federal agencies they used to lobby
(Image credit: Screenshot/YouTube/MSNBC)

On Tuesday evening, Mark Esper was sworn in as defense secretary, hours after the Senate overwhelmingly confirmed him to fill the position following a record 204 days without a confirmed Pentagon chief. Esper, a 55-year-old West Point graduated and Army officer, brings decades of military experience to the job, along with stints as a professional staffer on two Senate committees, a position in George W. Bush's Pentagon, and a spell at the conservative Heritage Foundation.

Esper was also, until he became Army secretary in 2017, a lobbyist for Raytheon, the No. 3 U.S. defense contractor. And heading up the department you used to lobby isn't too uncommon in the Trump administration, it turns out. As Rachel Maddow pointed out on MSNBC Tuesday night, Interior Secretary David Bernhardt is a former oil industry lobbyist, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler was a coal industry lobbyist, and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar was a pharmaceutical industry lobbyist and senior executive.

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