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America


Backlog of 189 Trump Nominees ‘Worst Ever’


D BY FRED LUCAS


onald trump had fewer nominees confirmed in the first 14 months of his presi- dency than any president


since at least Ronald Reagan, an inde- pendent study shows. As of March, just 357 Trump appointees had been confirmed. The next lowest number of confirmations on record in the same period into a presidency was President George H. W. Bush, at 464. “The Democrats con- tinue to obstruct the confirmation of hundreds of good and talented people who are needed to run our govern- ment,” the president tweeted, calling it “a record in U.S. history.” One factor exacerbating Trump’s “confirmation gap”: The administra- tion has yet to submit nominees to fill 216 of the 640 federal government jobs the Partnership for Public Service and The Washington Post have identified as key positions. Trump currently has a backlog of 189 appointees awaiting confirmation. Of those, 149 are in key administration positions, according to the Partnership for Public Service. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has calculated, at the present rate, confirming all of Trump’s nominees will take more


than 11 years. But he has not pushed the “nuclear option” — simple major- ity to confirm, rather than 60 votes — which could move nominees along. According to the nonprofit Partner-


ship for Public Service, the average time lag for a Trump nominee to win confirmation is 81 days — nearly twice as long as the 42-day delay experi- enced under George W. Bush, and 35 percent longer than the 60-day aver- age delay experienced by President Barack Obama’s appointees. White House press secretary Sarah


Sanders has identified Senate Minor- ity Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., as the mastermind behind the Dem- ocratic delays. “In short,” she said, “Sen. Schumer’s hyper-political delay on Mr. Richard Grenell [the nominee for ambassador to Germany] puts our national security, and America’s for- eign policy interests, in jeopardy.” Senate historians note it was not


that long ago most non-Cabinet presidential nominations would sail through on a voice vote. “Before the Senate became a setting


for nearly nonstop partisan warfare,” The New York Times noted, “senators routinely approved most lower-level nominees by voice vote, rarely insist- ing on the full slate of procedural steps


WHERE’S MCCONNELL? Democrats took the “nuclear option” over a handful of nominee holds during Obama’s presidency. Critics say Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is not standing up to Democrats blocking Trump’s nominees.


when the outcome was a given.” Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.,


the chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Com- mittee, said in a March 6 speech to the Council of Chief State School Officers that “Democrats have not yet gotten over President Trump’s election and think the thing to do about that is just to slow everything down.” Alexander further admonished Democrats: “If you don’t like a nomi- nee, vote no. Don’t just slow it down for a week and push all the nominees to 2020.”


Foot-Dragging Trips Up Ric Grenell O


ne example of Democratic delay tactics involves President Trump’s


nominee to serve as ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell. Grenell, the longest serving U.S.


spokesman ever at the United Nations, was nominated in October 2017, and is still


awaiting confirmation. “He is waiting to represent America’s interests and be our country’s top voice in a G7 country,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders remarked recently. Grenell, who is Trump’s first openly LGBT nominee, has been


16 NEWSMAX | MAY 2018


sitting in limbo in the Senate since Oct. 26, when the Senate Foreign Relations Committee narrowly approved him to get a full vote on the floor. Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn said the delayed


confirmation was part of “collective foot-dragging on all the ambassadors and executive nominations.” Cornyn added: “I do think that by blocking these


ambassadors it is making things more dangerous for the United States at a time when we ought to be using every diplomatic lever that we have in order to keep the peace and avoid conflict.” — F.L.


MCCONNELL/RON SACHS-POOL/GETTY IMAGES / GRENELL/SAUL LOEB/AFP/GETTY IMAGES


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