by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
President Trump moved this month to beef up his White House staff, adding former Reagan budget official Larry Kudlow as his chief economic adviser and John Bolton, another Reagan veteran, to head his National Security Council. But 14 months into his term, the president will have to do a lot better if he’s going to fill out an administration that in many areas has so many vacancies, it is still in “Home Alone” status.
Trump is convinced he knows whose fault that is. “The Democrats continue to obstruct the confirmation of hundreds of good and talented people who are needed to run our government,” he wrote on Twitter this month. …
… It’s also true that most presidents come into office with layers of advisers, experts, and administrators they’ve known for years who’ve been waiting to slide into key positions. As a “disruptive” candidate who ran against Washington, Trump didn’t have that infrastructure in place.
That said, the president hasn’t moved nearly fast enough in filling out the sub-cabinet government of officials who, because they are personally appointed by the president, are charged with making Trump policies a reality. Of the top 640 jobs that require Senate confirmation, the Partnership for Public Service has calculated that fewer than half — 275 — have been confirmed and are on the job. Another 144 people have been named or nominated but are awaiting confirmation. A total of 217 positions — a third of the total — have never had anyone named to fill them.
The longer those positions remain vacant, the longer they will remain in the hands of career civil servants or political holdovers from the Obama administration.