Like Trump, all lack any experience in civilian government service. The only top choices who do are Sen. Jeff Sessions, Trump's pick for attorney general, and Rick Perry, the former Texas governor who was selected for Energy secretary on Wednesday.
That's far different from the initial teams selected by any of the last five presidents.
Every one of the top six appointees by Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and George H.W. Bush boasted previous government service. In Bill Clinton's White House, only his first chief of staff, Mack McLarty, an Arkansas energy executive, had not worked in government before; in Ronald Reagan's, only Treasury Secretary Donald Regan, who had run Merrill Lynch, had never worked in government.
Moreover, Reagan, Clinton and the younger Bush had all spent years as governors of their states. The elder Bush had served in Congress, run the CIA and been U.S. envoy to China.
In some ways, the absence of government experience by Trump and much of his team fits the public mood. On Election Day, two-thirds of voters told exit pollsters they feel either dissatisfied or angry at the federal government. More than experience or judgment, they identified ability to "bring change" as the most important quality in the next president.
During the campaign, Trump bluntly attacked the competence of recent presidents and their staffs. The billionaire real estate tycoon promised to improve on government's performance after three decades of stagnated middle-class incomes and persistent national security woes.
Now Trump's task is making the gears of a complex federal apparatus turn in ways that convert his rhetoric — on issues from cutting government waste to overhauling the tax system to implementing a new strategy against ISIS — into the changes voters want.