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The American Independent

Trump has failed to nominate anyone for nearly half the seats in his government

There are more key positions in Trump’s administration sitting open than positions for which there are confirmed appointees.

By Caroline Orr - January 13, 2018
President Donald Trump speaks to the media before speaking with troops via video conference at Mar-a-Lago, on Thanksgiving, Thursday, Nov. 23, 2017, in Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

It’s no secret that Donald Trump has not done much governing during his time in office. Despite his claims to the contrary, Trump has signed fewer bills at this point in his presidency than any U.S. president in at least six decades.

In fact, the number of days he has spent on a golf course is about to surpass the number of bills he has signed into law. But Trump’s desk isn’t the only part of his government that is sitting empty.

Nearly a full year into his presidency, Trump has failed to nominate anyone to fill nearly half of the most important positions in his administration. That’s according to an ongoing analysis by the Washington Post, which is tracking the status of over 600 key positions that need to be filled through executive branch nominations.

As of Saturday, there are more key government positions for which Trump has not nominated anyone than there are confirmed appointments. Out of 626 key positions, 241 have been confirmed, 136 have nominees waiting for confirmation, and 245 are sitting unfilled with no nominee.

Those unfilled positions include “the IRS commissioner, the ambassador to South Korea, the census director, the deputy secretary of commerce — fundamental jobs that involve central issues of governing,” Max Stier, who runs the nonprofit Partnership for Public Service, told the Washington Post.

If Trump gets his way, many of these unfilled positions will likely stay vacant.

“I’m generally not going to make a lot of the appointments that would normally be — because you don’t need them,” Trump said in an October 2017 interview with Forbes Magazine. “I mean, you look at some of these agencies, how massive they are, and it’s totally unnecessary. They have hundreds of thousands of people.”

While the White House says Trump “came to Washington to drain the swamp” and “make government more efficient,” leaving these positions vacant threatens to bring essential government services to a screeching halt.

“These are the women and men who protect the country, help us recover from hurricanes, send astronauts into space and make sure we get our Social Security checks on time,” noted Fred Hiatt of the Washington Post.

“The President has left numerous critical policy and management positions unfilled, including those that directly affect our national and economic security, public health, food safety and immigration enforcement,” Stier added.

The vacancies are concentrated in certain government agencies, especially the State Department, where critical assistant secretary and undersecretary positions remain without a nominee. The vacancies have triggered alarm among many national security and military experts, especially in light of Trump’s reckless bluster about North Korea.

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell was so concerned by the unfilled positions that he recently met with officials in the administration to issue a grave warning, telling them that Trump was “gutting the State Department.”

If Trump really wants to “make America great,” he should start by making sure America’s government doesn’t fall apart.

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