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article imageOp-Ed: Trump is still the captain of a 'rudderless' ship of government

By Karen Graham     Jun 15, 2017 in Politics
Washington - President Trump has so far nominated about 111 people to fill top-tier positions across his administration. He only has about 1,000 more positions to fill.
And of those 111 nominations, only 41 of them have been approved by the Senate as of Tuesday this week. Does anyone wonder why nothing is getting done in Washington? CNN reports that according to the nonpartisan, nonprofit group, Partnership for Public Service, no president has fallen this far behind in naming heads of agencies, assistant secretaries, ambassadors and other critical leadership roles since the group began keeping track in 1989.
Most of us would expect Trump to at least fill positions related to issues he cares the most about, like defense and securing the border, says VOX.com, but even there, he is behind, way behind. For example, the Pentagon has 63 political spots, yet only six have been filled, while 10 more have been nominated but not been confirmed.
Let's see, only two positions out 16 in the Department of Homeland Security have been filled, and the State Department has another 111 out of 120 positions still open. We still don't have ambassadors to key countries like China, Britain, Germany and India yet.
Senate Democrats  with new leader Chuck Schumer  have slow-walked all President Donald Trump's ...
Senate Democrats, with new leader Chuck Schumer, have slow-walked all President Donald Trump's cabinet nominations with only four of 15 nominees confirmed so far
Aaron P. Bernstein, Getty/AFP
One glaring vacancy is the head of the Transportation Security Administration, which is mandated with protecting the United States’ air travel system. However, the same could be said for the empty chair at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency.
Perhaps part of the problem could be that Trump, the erstwhile businessman, and obviously not a politician, didn't quite understand the "Capital Hill" process. Trump first picked his nominees and announced them, going around the Ethics Office "vetting" system. The Office of Government Ethics sent Trump's transition team a letter in November, warning them of the problems associated with the way they were picking their nominees, saying there could be "embarrassing" consequences.
Well, that is exactly what happened to several of Trump's appointees who ended up making embarrassing departures after being unable to resolve conflicts of interest. Regardless, it took until April before the Trump administration finally bowed to the proper procedure of nominating someone.
US Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks during a cabinet meeting at the White House  in Washington ...
US Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks during a cabinet meeting at the White House, in Washington, DC, on June 12, 2017
NICHOLAS KAMM, AFP
Trump used his praise-gushing open-to-the-press cabinet meeting this week to voice his complaint that the Office of Government Ethics had "become very difficult to deal with," as he tried to fill the vacancies on his team, essentially saying the ethics office was responsible for the slots not being filled.
CBS News reports that the ethics office director says there's no holdup at his end. "OGE is not the cause of any delays," Walter Shaub said. "We're moving nominee reports faster during this transition than we did during the last transition, but we can't review reports the White House hasn't sent to us."
But whether Trump blames the ethics office or Democrats, the ultimate blame for the unfilled positions rests on his poorly chosen transition team. Added to that is the political fiasco created by the Russian election hacking and Trump's excessive and compulsive tweeting. Someone on the president's team needs to take his iPhone and dunk it in a bucket of water.
But putting blame aside, more harm is being done to the American people and our government. If Trump wants to get on with creating his vision of making America great again, he will need the right people in many key positions that are still empty today. As for his ship of government, he may be the captain, but the ship still needs a rudder.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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