A New York Times op-ed published on Friday painted a stark picture of President Donald Trump’s fledgling administration.
Trump has appointed fewer than three dozen of the top 1,000 officials needed to run the US federal government.
According to The Times’ editorial board, this is not anything new. The past three White House administrations slowly took shape in the first month.
But, in the case of Trump, “he’s trying to pass of his inattention as some kind of plan,” The Times’ editorial board wrote.
In an interview with Fox News this week, Trump said “In many cases, we don’t want to fill those jobs. What do all these people do. You don’t need all those jobs.” Unlike Trump, the three previous administrations — under Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama — all had candidates lined up within the first month in offce.
Partnership for Public Service, a nonpartisan organisation that specialises in presidential transitions, recommends that administrations fill the top 400 Senate-confirmed agency positions before the congressional recess in August.
The editorial board likened Trump’s current style of governance to the manner in which he ran his businesses in the 1990s — keeping a tight circle of family and allies as managers and advisers.
One of the more recent political dogfights came to light when Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis, who was highly praised by Trump, wanted to appoint former US ambassador to Egypt Anne Patterson as his undersecretary of defence for policy.
According to multiple sources cited by Politico in a story published Thursday, Mattis is facing some pushback from the White House on a number of his recommended appointees.
Each side is “rejecting names offered up by the other,” Politico’s unnamed sources said.
The same back-and-forth has happened between Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and the White House. “He’s not a great manager,” said biographer Tim O’Brien in Politico Magazine. “He’s a performance artist pretending to be a great manager.”
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