Donald Trump has certainly talked a big game when it comes to foreign policy. After making a series of bold promises to “destroy ISIS,” “take jobs back from China,” and force Mexico to pay for a wall along the southern U.S. border, campaign spectators have been waiting on the Donald to take the initial step of building a team of advisers capable of delivering on his campaign rhetoric.
On Monday, Trump announced the first five members of his foreign policy team, promising more in the coming months. So who are these “experts”? We looked at their political donation records to find out.
The list ranges from the somewhat recognizable to downright obscure. Missing in the chart above is retired General Keith Kellogg, of whom there are no records of political contributions over $200. Gen. Kellogg was heavily involved with rebuilding infrastructure in Iraq.
On the more recognizable side is Walid Phares, a counter-terrorism expert, former Romney adviser, and a professor at the National Defense University in Washington, who often appears on conservative media outlets. Also recognizable is Joe Schmitz, former Inspector General at the Defense Department, and an executive at Blackwater, a private security services company.
The remaining two advisers are relatively unknown energy consultants. Carter Page is the founder of Global Energy Capital with experience in Russia, where he helped set up the Merril Lynch offices. George Papadopoulos formerly worked on the Ben Carson campaign, and is active in topics of energy security in Israel and the Middle East.
So far, Donald Trump’s foreign policy team has military, counter-terrorism, energy, Russia, and Israel experience. Seems reasonable enough. But conspicuously missing in the list above are any international trade experts, which one would expect would be indispensable in achieving “tough, fair trade with China.”
We’ll continue to update this piece as Trump announces the totality of his foreign policy team, but from what we’ve seen, one can expect a wide range of political stances, from moderate to very conservative, much like Trump himself.
Editor’s note: This analysis originally published on Crowdpac’s blog on March 23, 2016, and has been modified slightly for publication on IVN.