Andrew Coyne: Who’s at the White House? A helpful guide to Donald Trump’s appointments


With this week’s resignation of chief economic adviser Gary Cohn, Donald Trump’s administration is said to have lost one of its last voices of relative sanity. That is, so far as anyone can tell.

There have been so many officials leaving the administration, so many coming in to replace them, that it is difficult to know just who is working for it at any given time, or what function they perform. Indeed, it is open to debate whether Trump himself should really be considered part of the Trump administration: his duties seem to consist for the most part of playing golf, watching Fox and Friends, tweeting, and picking fights with various Congressional leaders, cabinet members and White House staff.

For the bewildered, it is probably helpful to break Trump’s appointments down into several broad categories. They are:

1. The ones that haven’t been made. By far the largest number. Under the U.S. constitution, some 1,200 out of the thousands of appointments a president might make must be confirmed by the Senate. The majority of these, more than a year after Trump was inaugurated, remain unfilled. Of 639 key posts tracked by the Washington Post, just 274 have been confirmed. Another 145 nominees are awaiting confirmation, while 216 have yet to be nominated.

2. The ones that were made, but were either rejected or withdrawn before they started. Trump’s pick for Secretary of Labor, Andrew Puzder, is the most high-profile of these: a former CEO of a fast-food chain, his nomination was withdrawn over allegations of wage theft, sexual harassment and spousal abuse. More than 20 other nominees have met the same fate, including Trump’s nominee for President of the Export-Import Bank, Scott Garrett; his first choice as White House communications director, Jason Miller; his drug policy adviser, Tom Marino; his environmental adviser, Kathleen Hartnett White, a climate change skeptic and co-author of the book Fueling Freedom: Exposing the Mad War on Energy; and his assistant secretary for Homeland Security, David Clarke, the controversial former sheriff of Milwaukee County who, among other contributions to civic life, is alleged to have abused several prisoners in his care.

Gone but not forgotten: Former communications director, Anthony Scaramucci

3. The ones who have quit or been fired since being appointed. Another long list, nearly three dozen in all. These include his chief of staff, Reince Priebus; his press secretary, Sean Spicer; three communications directors, Michael Dubke, Anthony Scaramucci and Hope Hicks; his chief strategist, Steve Bannon; his Secretary of Health, Tom Price; his national security adviser, Michael Flynn, for his involvement in the Russia business; FBI director James Comey, famously, for investigating it; his deputy, Andrew McCabe; and of course, Omarosa Manigault, the former Apprentice contestant whose precise duties at the White House remain a mystery.

4. The ones who are still in their jobs, but never should have been appointed. Again, a good number would fit this description. Among his advisers, there is Peter Navarro, the trade adviser whose recommendations include inserting a provision in all future U.S. trade agreements …read more

Source:: Nationalpost


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