President Donald Trump accused Democrats in the Senate of slowing the confirmation process for his appointees, including foreign ambassadors, even though Senate rules allow Republicans, the chamber’s majority party, to move appointees along without Democratic votes.
“Dems are taking forever to approve my people, including Ambassadors. They are nothing but OBSTRUCTIONISTS! Want approvals,” the president wrote on Twitter, directing his statement to the Fox News morning show “Fox & Friends,” known to be a preferred program of his.
In the Trump administration’s opening weeks, White House officials were quick to loudly complain that the president’s nominees were facing an unprecedented level of scrutiny. Many of Trump’s nominees did indeed face controversy, in one instance prompting Labor Secretary-designate Andrew Puzder to withdraw from consideration and in another prompting Vice President Mike Pence to cast a tie-breaking deciding vote in favor of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.
But while Trump has blamed Capitol Hill for the sluggish pace at which appointees have been confirmed, the White House has thus far left dozens of key roles unfilled.
According to a database maintained by the Partnership for Public Service and The Washington Post, the Trump administration has formally nominated just 63 candidates – 39 of which have been approved – for 559 key positions that require Senate confirmation. Overall, there are 1,200 government jobs that require say-so from the Senate to fill.
According to the database jointly maintained by the Partnership for Public Service and the Post, which is not exhaustive but is instead a sampling of confirmation-required jobs, Trump has just five formal ambassadorial nominations pending. Others, like former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman to be ambassador to Russia and New York Jets owner Woody Johnson to be ambassador to the United Kingdom, have been announced but not yet formally submitted.
Other roles for which the Trump administration has yet to put forward a candidate include the administrator for the Transportation Security Administration, the assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s national security division and the deputy director of national intelligence.