Mapping the network of power relations around Donald Trump.
“Donald J. Trump’s global business empire will create an unprecedented number of conflicts of interest for a United States president” The New York Times reported on Dec 1st, 2016. The article shows the paths between the transition team and the Trump’s children who run various Trump organizations. Most recently, the Buzzfeed published a data research on Trump’s relations to 184 people and 1330 organizations connected to the incoming administration. LittleSis.org, the collectively edited database of powerful people and organizations, has the Donald Trump profile since 2008 and last updated on Dec 1st 2016.
We combined the Buzzfeed research data and LittleSis.org profiles on the Graph Commons platform to make an interactive map of Trump’s power network. This work is not a complete map of Trump’s world as the Buzzfeed and LittleSis.org data is incomplete. Both organizations invite you to contribute additional data, the map will be updated accordingly.
Graph Commons is a platform for mapping, analyzing, and publishing data networks, used by journalists, researchers, and various organizations. On graphcommons.com you can investigate this interactive data map yourself.
The Trump Network has 1330 organizations, 184 people, and 1857 relationships between them. People are in red and organizations are in blue.
The main relation types
Buzzfeed data contains more than 330 types of relation definitions. While this is rich for telling stories, having so many relation types is not helpful for a structural analysis. We reduced down these definitions down to 5 main connection categories and colored them accordingly.
Business relations in blue (Partner, Owner, Chairman, Investor etc.),
Government relations in red (Nominee, Advisor, Counsel etc.),
Family relations in black (Married, Sibling, Brother, etc.),
Transactional relations in green (Donated, Funded, Loaned etc.),
Event relations in purple (being in the same photo, join a ceremony, etc.).
Following this color scheme we can semantically navigate the relations.
What are the most central organizations?
Distribution of organization connections follow a typical power-law. Among the organizations Thrive Capital, 40 Wall Street LLC, DJT Holdings LLC, Kushner Companies, and Trump Hotels are the largest ones in the Trump network heading the long tail of all organizations.
Who are the most connected people?
Distribution of people connections also follows a power-law, where the head of the long tail contains the most connected people including billionaire Wilbur Ross likely to be Trump’s Commerce Secretary, Betsy Devos who will be Trump’s Education Secretary, Elaine Chao who was Secretary of Labor under George W Bush, Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner, Donald Trump JR., founder of Thrive Capital Joshua Kushner, and Trump nominee for Secretary of State. Chairman and CEO of Exxon Mobil Rex Tillerson.
Where are the nominees of Trump cabinet located in the network?
Nominees are connected to Donald Trump with red lines, and here ordered by the number of connections they have:
WILBUR ROSS Nominee for Secretary of Commerce 126 connections
BETSY DEVOS Nominee for Secretary of Education 47 connections
ELAINE CHAO Nominee for Secretary of Transportation 38 connections
BEN CARSON Nominee for Secretary of HUD 14 connections
TOM PRICE Nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services 11 connections
ANDY PUZDER Nominee for Secretary of Labor 9 connections
STEVEN MNUCHIN Nominee for Secretary of Treasury 8 connections
MICK MULVANEY Nominee for Director of Office of Management and Budget 8 connections
NIKKI HALEY Nominee for Ambassador to the United Nations 7 connections
DAN COATS Nominee for Director of National Intelligence 6 connections
MICHAEL POMPEO Nominee for Director of CIA 6 connections
RICK PERRY Nominee for Secretary of Energy 6 connections
RYAN ZINKE Nominee for Secretary of Interior 6 connections
LINDA MCMAHON Nominee for Administrator of the Small Business Administration 6 connections
JAMES MATTIS Nominee for Secretary of Defense 4 connections
SCOTT PRUITT Nominee for Administrator of the Environmental Protection Administration 4 connections
JEFF SESSIONS Nominee for Attorney General 2 connections
ROBERT LIGHTHIZER Nominee for U.S. Trade Representative 2 connections
JOHN F. KELLY Nominee for Secretary of Department of Homeland Security 1 connection
Clusters of power in the Trump Network
Thrive Capital and Kushner companies of the Kushner family make one of the largest cluster in the Trump Network. Jared Kushner, son-in-law of Donald Trump, holds the central position in this cluster.
In the Trump Network, Thrive Capital is the most connected organization due to its large number of investments from tech startups to real estate. Its co-investors include Peter Thiel, Hong Kong’s richest person Li Ka-Shing, Jack Ma of China’s AliBaba, and Russian venture capitalist Yuri Milner. Thrive Capial is founded by Joshua Kushner, brother of Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner (married to Ivanka Trump). Kushner Companies is in real estate business with investment relations to many companies from the Carlyle Group to Africa-Israel Investments to Israeli diamond billionaire and “true friend” of Putin, Lev Leview.
Partnerships and investments of the Kushner brothers connect this cluster to Donald Trump’s organizations and nominees, with critical bridges such as Observer Media (owner of the New York Observer one of the few papers to endorse Trump’s campaign) and Goldman Sachs.
Goldman Sachs is a bridge between the Kushner cluster and Trump’s immediate clusters or advisors and nominees. Goldman Sachs former partner Steven Mnuchin is Trump’s treasury secretary, and Breitbart News chairman Stephen Bannon is senior advisor to Donald Trump.
These are just a few preliminary observations from the map. You can explore for yourself the chains of connections in Trump’s hotel businesses, golf courses, real estate, Miss Universe LLC, and their further connections to Trump’s political nominees, and organizations from art museums to defense. Follow the links below to explore more and share your findings.
Explore the Trump Network yourself
- Explore the interactive map further here, share your findings, embed the interactive map from Graph Commons into your article.
- Contribute with your own data, map relations yourself, contribute to the Buzzfeed’s TrumpWorld and Littlesis.org’s Trump related profiles.
- Develop an app that watches the actors in the Trump Network, collects data and uses the metrics. See the Graph Commons API.
- Explore the data in your own database, see Michael Hunger’s guide for exploring in a Neo4j database instance.
If you want to get in touch with us with thoughts or suggestions, we’d love to hear from you.