Donald Trump’s second round of tweets on Monday morning included complaining, once again, that Democrats are obstructing his Presidential appointments. Unsurprisingly, this wasn’t the most accurate representation of what’s actually going on with his nominees. In truth, Trump has only made nominations for a few of the many appointments available to his administration — and many potential nominees are turning him down.
The tweet was in typical Trump fashion. It included an all-caps accusation, and a two-word demand: “Want approvals.” It was, for some reason, also addressed to Fox and Friends.
In reality, more than half a dozen of Trump’s nominees to various positions have either withdrawn themselves from consideration or resigned from their post within a very short time after confirmation.
There’s also the simple fact that Trump isn’t appointing people for a number of the positions that are available to fill.
The position of National Security Advisor is probably our most prominent example. Trump appointee Michael Flynn resigned from the post less than a month after assuming office, after reports, as the New York Times states, that he had misled White House officials with regard to his Russia connections.
According to The Hill, Trump’s choice to replace Flynn, Retired Vice Admiral Robert Harward, turned down the offer, saying that his family and financial obligations prevented him from being able to fill the position.
The Miami Herald reported in February on another of Trump’s picks to back away from an offered position: Vincent Viola. This was the man Trump had named for Secretary of the Army in December, and who, after Trump’s inauguration, said he couldn’t separate himself from his business ties sufficiently enough to take the position. Trump’s pick for Secretary of the Navy, Phillip Bilden, also withdrew himself from consideration due to concerns about conflicts of interest, according to Politico.
Donald Trump also picked Andrew Pudzer for Secretary of Labor, Todd Rickets for Secretary of Commerce, and Jim Donovan as Deputy Secretary of the Treasury — all of whom withdrew their names from consideration. That’s only counting the appointees who withdrew
That’s only counting the appointees who withdrew after the inauguration — other Trump appointees declined to be considered even before Donald Trump took his oath of office.
Aside from appointees who simply decided they couldn’t, wouldn’t, or shouldn’t take a position under Trump, there’s another factor — he’s simply not trying to fill a lot of positions. NY Mag reported months ago that Trump had declared an intention to not fill hundreds of high-level agency jobs. The Senate can’t confirm appointments the President never makes.
In fact, the Washington Post, tracking all appointments requiring Senate confirmation, reports that Donald Trump has named choices to only 102 of the 559 on the list. Of these, 39 have been confirmed. The positions for which Trump has made no nomination include approximately 50 Ambassador positions. Only five Ambassador positions have nominees who have not yet been confirmed.
The White House’s official site publishes these nominations when they are made, and in the past month, Donald Trump has announced 35 (36 if you account one withdrawal) to the Senate.
That all adds up to very few appointees whose wait time for confirmation can be more than thirty days.
In fact, when Trump made the same complaint about his cabinet picks back in February, the BBC revealed that one major factor in the delays was that Trump was failing to submit background check information in a timely manner.
Donald Trump claims that Democrats are obstructing his appointments, but the truth is, the current Senate has a Republican majority, several of his appointments have withdrawn from consideration, and hundreds of positions have no confirmation because he has not appointed anyone to be confirmed.
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Steph Bazzle reports on social issues and religion for Hill Reporter. She focuses on stories that speak to everyone's right to practice what they believe in and receive the support of their communities and government officials. You can reach her at Steph@HillReporter.com