WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama rounded out his second-term Cabinet choices Thursday, nominating Penny Pritzker, his longtime financial backer and an heir to the Hyatt Hotel fortune, for commerce secretary, and Michael Froman, a law school friend and White House adviser on international economics, as trade representative.
Obama introduced his two friends in a Rose Garden announcement before departing for a three-day trip to Mexico and Costa Rica, along with Froman. With Obama's nomination Monday of Anthony R. Foxx, the mayor of Charlotte, N.C., to be transportation secretary, he has completed his selections for a Cabinet depleted by departures after his first term.
Several nominees, including the new ones, still need Senate confirmation. Republicans will closely scrutinize Pritzker's financial record, as Sen. Charles E. Grassley of Iowa made plain in a statement after the announcement.
"Every nominee's offshore tax avoidance activities should be examined as part of the nomination process," he said, suggesting Pritzker was "associated with the kind of tax avoidance activity that the president dismisses as fat cat shenanigans for others."
Pritzker, a longtime Chicago donor and fundraiser for Obama, had been expected to be his pick for the long-vacant Commerce Department post, but vetting of her substantial financial assets and ties delayed a formal announcement, administration aides have said. It came on her 54th birthday.
Froman, 50, has served in the White House as the deputy national security adviser for international economics since Obama first took office. Froman had proximity to the president and a portfolio thicker than that of the Cabinet-rank trade representative, encompassing not only trade but also international development and climate change issues.