Trump badly lagging Obama, Bush, Clinton in political appointees


White House, Democrats point fingers as wings of government are without Trump appointees.

Six months into his administration, President Donald Trump has far fewer political appointees in place than his four predecessors, stoking discontent among senior members of his administration and those seeking action with the federal government.

Trump’s four predecessors were at least three times faster than the current president at getting their nominees into their desks. Some 49 of Trump’s key nominees have been confirmed as of Thursday, according to the Partnership for Public Service, a non-partisan group that tracks more than 500 key appointments. That’s compared to 201 for Barack Obama, 185 for George W. Bush, 196 for Bill Clinton and 148 or George H.W. Bush.

What that means is entire wings of the government are largely devoid of Trump appointees — with few of the president’s aides setting policies, reviewing regulations, overseeing the bureaucracy or being available for meetings with advocates, lobbyists or others. On some key policy pushes like health care and taxes, policymaking is being run largely from the West Wing, partially because are few people at the agencies.

“I don’t believe any prior president has done this fast enough, but this administration is far lagging every other administration,” said Max Stier, who has advised transitions of both parties and runs the Partnership. “You’re not exaggerating to say this is a big problem for them.”

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