Whitaker’s unusual path to DOJ included owning day-care center, trailer maker and concrete supplier

Over the past two decades, Whitaker — now the acting attorney general — has owned a day-care center, a concrete supply business and a trailer manufacturer, state records show. He led a taxpayer-subsidized effort to build affordable housing in Des Moines, but he walked away from the stalled project two years ago after the city threatened him with a lawsuit.

In 2004, when he started a five-year stint as U.S. attorney in the Southern District of Iowa, Whitaker cited a personal-injury case and a dispute involving a dry-cleaning business as some of his most consequential legal work. When he left office, he started a modest legal practice and a short-lived lobbying and consulting firm.

Whitaker, 49, stands in vivid contrast to his predecessors, whose résumés typically boast judgeships, partnerships at prestigious firms and senior roles in the Justice Department. He is the latest in a series of un­or­tho­dox appointments in the Trump era.