Trump's Agenda Blocked by Distractions
Donald Trump is way behind on naming government appointments and, no surprise, Democrats aren’t helping. Thus far in his presidency, Trump has made only 85 nominations, which is lagging significantly behind the numbers posted by his three predecessors; Barack Obama had nominated 212, George W. Bush 161 and Bill Clinton 182. Even George H. W. Bush had made 135 by this point in his presidency, which is interesting given the fact that he was following Ronald Reagan.
“Leadership matters a lot, as does having the right people in place,” said Mallory Barg Bulman vice president of research and evaluation at the Partnership for Public Service. “You can’t start the game until the whole team is on the field.”
According to the White House, the slow walking is intentional. Press Secretary Sean Spicer stated, “We’re actually going through the Office of Government Ethics and FBI clearances before announcing most of these individuals. And so, there’s a little bit of a difference in how we’re doing this. But we are well on pace with respect to many of these [appointments] to get the government up and running.” However, it’s interesting to note that Trump has yet to nominate anyone for director of the Office of Personnel Management, the agency tasked with managing the federal workforce. One would think that would be a priority nomination.
But with Democrats pledging to throw up road blocks to any and all of Trump’s nominees, all while demanding that a special prosecutor be named to investigate the phony Russia-Trump collusion allegations, it would seem counterintuitive to be moving this slowly.
There’s another seemingly growing problem — Republicans, holding a slim majority, are showing some signs of splitting from supporting Trump, especially since the firing of James Comey. The lack of consistently disciplined and cohesive communications coming from Trump and his administration, which is an intentional strategy to keep his opponents guessing, is proving to sow an increasing amount of confusion and frustration on Trump’s own side — particularly with congressional Republicans. Often they’re left scrambling to both understand and answer for statements from Trump’s White House with little to no warning. Instead of being on the offensive, the GOP is seemingly playing from behind, as if they were the minority party.
Robert Moffit, a former assistant OPM director during Ronald Reagan’s presidency and current senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation, said, “The bottom line is that the president can’t run the federal government out of the White House and secretaries can’t run giant agencies huddled in an executive suite. Unilateral disarmament is a victory for the swamp. The swamp creatures have won the fight. Unless you control the bureaucracy, the bureaucracy controls you.”
Trump needs to ramp up his nomination rate, encourage Republicans to stand firmly united and call out Democrats for being the party of obstructionists, if he hopes to get more of his swamp-draining agenda enacted. Americans are on Trump’s side when it comes to reforming the bureaucracy of DC, but he needs to end his distraction campaign and focus on getting his total team in place.