Donald Trump has failed to nominate candidates to a number of key positions, falling significantly behind the Obama administration and troubling the President’s claim the White House is running like a “well-oiled machine”.
By March 2009, Barack Obama had made nominations to one in six positions requiring Senate confirmation. With 10 days to go until an exact comparison can be made, the Trump team has made nominations to just one post in 16.
As many as 1,200 roles require Senate approval, including Cabinet secretaries, agency chiefs and ambassadors. The Washington Post has compiled a database tracking these appointments, exposing a worrying lag in comparison to previous Presidents.
Just 14 of the positions, or 2.5 per cent, had been confirmed by the Senate at the time of writing. A further 20 are awaiting confirmation, while the remaining 515 (or 94 per cent) are yet to have any nominees put forward by the Trump administration.
The process has also been marred by withdrawals and resignations: last week, Mr Trump lost more nominees than he put forward.
In a high-profile embarrassment for the Trump team, Michael Flynn resigned as national security adviser after it was revealed he had discussed forthcoming sanctions with the Russian ambassador to the US, and then denied it in public statements.
Vincent Viola, the billionaire trader and veteran who was Mr Trump’s first pick to head up the US Army, withdrew his nomination rather than divest from conflicting business interests.
Allegations of domestic abuse and mistreatment of workers at his fast foot chain likewise caused Andy Puzder to withdraw from his nomination to the Labour Secretary post.
The controversial orders Donald Trump has already issued
There are several hundred other positions which do not need approval, but still require Mr Trump to put forward a nominee: many of these are internal White House roles. Thousands more appointments must be made within federal organs by senior members of the Trump team.
The nominations process is never speedy: as noted, the Obama administration had only made a minority of federal nominations at this stage in 2009.
But some unfilled posts urgently require appointees. Unexperienced Cabinet secretaries like Betsy DeVos or Ben Carson will rely on their under-secretaries to do much of the day-to-day work in their departments, as Vox point out. But no one has yet been nominated to take care of business as under-secretary to DeVos, Carson, Rick Perry or a number of other high-profile Cabinet appointees.