Trump’s empty administration: What’s behind the high number of vacant government jobs

View of the South Portico of the White House in Washington DC at night.

It’s no secret that the Trump administration is way behind on filling key positions as hundreds of top jobs sit unfilled nearly 150 days into the president’s term.

President Trump has complained that the process of confirming his nominees is “record-setting long” and recently took to Twitter to blame the Democrats for stalling the process.

But while the Senate has taken longer to confirm Trump’s nominees than it took with nominees of the previous several presidents, the real culprit may be the president’s chaotic and disorganized transition.

Transition woes

The groundwork of lining up potential nominees for a new administration usually begins well before Election Day with candidates beginning early to identify people they would want in the executive branch. But with the Trump campaign and later the Trump transition almost none of that preparation took place.

Once a potential nominee is identified, it can take upwards of 45 days for that person to go through an FBI background check and a review by the Office of Government Ethics, all of which is typically done before the nominee’s name is sent to the Senate for confirmation.

Previous incoming presidents identified a large group of potential nominees either during the campaign or the transition — and even before it was determined for which job each person would be nominated.

But the Trump transition was well behind schedule compared to other recent presidents in lining up candidates for key roles.

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