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Friday, 17 February 2017

The 45th President's empty Administration

On 18 January 2017, Bloomberg published an article called "The Empty Trump Administration": "Overall, out of 690 positions requiring Senate confirmation tracked by the Washington Post and Partnership for Public Service, Trump has come up with only 28 people so far."

NYT 19 January 2017: "In all, Mr. Trump has named only 29 of his 660 executive department appointments, according to the Partnership for Public Service, which has been tracking the process. That is a pace far slower than recent predecessors, falling far short of the schedule originally outlined by Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, who was Mr. Trump’s transition director before Mr. Trump ousted him 10 weeks ago."

Today, the Political Appointee Tracker only gives a slightly better picture: 12 confirmed, 23 awaiting confirmation, and 661 awaiting nomination. Why is this happening?

An explanation might be that 1) before his election, Trump did not expect - or even like - to win the Presidency and thus did not start the hiring process, 2) after his election, Trump ousted his transition director Chris Christie, 3) after Trump's inauguration, the current chaos in the Trump Administration prevents Trump from finding people willing to risk their reputation, and 4) it may not be easy finding adequate and capable people sharing similar extreme beliefs.

Consequently, "Obama staff members are filling in the gaps" (eg, NYT). Some of these Obama appointees are clearly not happy with their roles in the new Trump Administration and either resign at their earliest convenience or get fired over a collision with Trump (eg, Daniel Tarullo, Sally Yates). The stream of leaks flowing from the White House and federal agencies may well relate to the absence of (661+23=) 684 politically aligned executive department appointments.

On top of all of the above, "Federal managers say Trump’s hiring freeze hurts government" (eg, AtlanticWP). It's very unlikely that this hiring freeze has anything to do with the 661 awaiting executive department nominations. CNN: like any U.S. Administration, "the Trump administration will soon be filling thousands of appointments to positions large and small across the federal government: some agencies are household names, others you've probably never heard of."

Bloomberg: "If I had to guess, however, I'd say that the failure to get his administration up and running on time isn't a deliberate choice by Trump; he just has no idea what he's doing, and hasn't surrounded himself with people well-equipped to translate his impulses and his campaign commitments into a full-fledged government. This isn't exactly a surprise." 

Given Trump's facial expression on recent pictures, I agree with Howard Stern's assessment: "[] I actually think this is something that is gonna be detrimental to his mental health too, because, he wants to be liked, he wants to be loved. He wants people to cheer for him."

The chaos in the U.S. Administration reminds me of the 1980 BBC series "Yes Minister" (IMDb) and its sequel "Yes, Prime Minister" (IMDb). Wiki: "Yes Minister follows the ministerial career of [] Jim Hacker MP []. His various struggles to formulate and enact legislation or effect departmental changes are opposed by the British Civil Service." 

Yes Minister - Why Britain Joined the European Union (1980)
excerpt from Season 1, Episode 1 (video)