Cabinet Confirmations The Slowest Since George Washington

 ‘Democrats … Are Slow-Walking The Installation Of Trump’s Cabinet To A Historic Degree’

SEN. MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “Look, we all get it. Democrats are having a tough time coming to grips with the election results. They wish it had turned out differently. I understand their disappointment. I know their base is rioting against reality. I know the far left is demanding obstructionist tactics at any cost. I realize that Leader Schumer in particular is under immense pressure from the radical fringes of our politics. But he and his party can’t allow themselves to be led around by the far left.” (Sen. McConnell, “Give Neil Gorsuch an Up-Or-Down Vote,” Politico, 2/6/17)

‘Republicans Will Eventually Win All These Confirmation Battles,’ Even If ‘The Sluggish Pace Of Cabinet-Level Approvals Is Unusually Slow,’ In Fact The Slowest Since President George Washington

“Senate Democrats … are slow-walking the installation of Trump’s Cabinet to a historic degree… Republicans will eventually win all these confirmation battles, but it will be time-consuming and ugly.” (“‘The Senate Is Coming Apart,’” Politico, 2/05/2017)

  • “McConnell has responded to the delay tactics by exploiting his majority status to grind down the Democrats. He scheduled a rare 6:30 a.m. Senate vote on Friday to move forward Betsy DeVos for education secretary. He has delayed the opening times for the Senate each day to evade Schumer’s objections. When Democrats refused to attend committee hearings to vote on nominees, Republicans changed the committee rules so they could jam them through. They moved forward on nominations even before background checks were complete or refused Democratic demands for more information.” (“‘The Senate Is Coming Apart,’” Politico, 2/05/2017)

“The Senate's confirmation of Trump's Cabinet is the slowest in modern history... Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan had their whole Cabinets confirmed at this point; Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama were nearly finished; and even George H.W. Bush had nine of his Cabinet secretaries in place despite opposition from a Democratic Senate. Trump, though, has only four Cabinet secretaries confirmed, although several more — including attorney general nominee Jeff Sessions — are expected to clear this week.” (“‘The Senate Is Coming Apart,’” Politico, 2/05/2017)

  • “Two weeks in, Donald Trump has the smallest confirmed Cabinet in decades… On his first day in office, President Jimmy Carter had eight of his Cabinet nominees confirmed. Within two days of his inauguration, Ronald Reagan had 12 of his nominees in place. Within 24 hours after his inauguration, Bill Clinton had 13 in place. Even President George W. Bush, whose transition period was swept up in a dramatic Supreme Court decision about his election, had seven of his nominees confirmed on Jan. 20, and four more in four days. President Obama — as Republicans are pointing out — had seven in place by the time he and Michelle Obama had their first dance.” (“Two Weeks In, Donald Trump Has The Smallest Confirmed Cabinet In Decades,” Washington Post, 2/2/17)

As of February 6, 2017, Donald Trump is still waiting on confirmation of 11 of his initial Cabinet secretaries. He has the fewest Cabinet secretaries confirmed at this point in his presidency of any incoming president since George Washington.

Previously, this point in time incoming presidents have had:

  • President Barack Obama had           12 of 15 Cabinet officials confirmed (7 on Day 1)
  • President George W. Bush had         14 of 14 Cabinet officials confirmed (7 on Day 1)
  • President Bill Clinton had                 13 of 14 Cabinet officials confirmed (13 by Day 2)
  • President George H. W. Bush had     9 of 14 Cabinet officials confirmed
  • President Ronald Reagan had          12 of 13 Cabinet officials confirmed (12 by Day 3)
  • President Jimmy Carter had             11 of 11 Cabinet officials confirmed (8 on Day 1, the rest by the end of Week 1)
  • President Richard Nixon had             12 of 12 Cabinet official confirmed (11 on Day 1)
  • President John F. Kennedy had          10 of 10 Cabinet official confirmed (10 on Day 2)
  • President Dwight D. Eisenhower had   9 of 10 Cabinet officials confirmed (8 on Day 2, HEW nominee not made until April)
  • For 50 years, every incoming president from James Garfield in 1881 to Franklin D. Roosevelt 1933 had all of their Cabinet official confirmed on Day 1.
  • This is the longest it has taken to confirm a majority of the President’s Cabinet after he was inaugurated since President George Washington set-up the government of the United States in 1789.

(“Barack H. Obama Cabinet Nominations,” U.S. Senate Website, Accessed 11/14/2016; “George W. Bush Cabinet Nominations,” U.S. Senate Website, Accessed 1/06/2017; “Presidential Cabinet Nominations,” U.S. Senate Website, 3/17/2016; “Filling Advice And Consent Positions At The Outset Of A New Administration,” CRS Report R40119, 4/01/2010; “Cabinet Nominations, Since 1789,” Senate Historical Office, 2/4/2017)

“[Brooklyn College history professor Robert David] Johnson says the only historical comparison to Trump's thin Cabinet on day one could be President George H.W. Bush, who had zero nominees confirmed on his first day. Bush's problem was that he was facing a Senate controlled by the other side. Then-Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell (D-Maine) was drawing out Bush's nominees to, ‘send a message’ that the Senate is a place to be reckoned with, Johnson said.” (“Two Weeks In, Donald Trump Has The Smallest Confirmed Cabinet In Decades,” The Washington Post, 2/02/2017)

‘Liberal Base Apoplectic … Demanding Opposition At Any Cost,’ But ‘Democrats Don’t Know How Long They’ll Be Able To Keep Up The Pace Of Protests’

“Democrats, many of whom openly loathe Trump and are furious… have used all the procedural arrows in their quiver to slow down confirmation of Trump's Cabinet nominees. They've boycotted committee meetings, refused to let panels meet in the afternoon, dragged out votes as long as possible, and refused to agree to even normal floor requests. They are voting against Trump's Cabinet picks in unprecedented numbers, arguing that Trump doesn't deserve even a patina of partisan support.” (“‘The Senate Is Coming Apart,’” Politico, 2/05/2017)

“As their progressive base rages against President Donald Trump… Democrats don’t know how long they’ll be able to keep up the pace of protests against President Donald Trump... Two weeks into the Trump administration, party leaders have already reached a frantic, fevered pitch, throwing around talk of constitutional crisis and raising the specter of impeachment.” (“The Democrats Face Up To Their Trump Problem,” Politico, 2/05/2017)

  • “The progressive Donald Trump doomsday clock is still at a minute to midnight even as the President-elect has named a string of mainstream cabinet nominees, and Senate Democrats are signaling that they plan to fight nearly all of them. They’re even calling themselves ‘the resistance,’ which does accurately capture the combination of melodrama and failure to accept the election defeat.” (Editorial, “'The Resistance’ Vs. Trump’s Cabinet,” The Wall Street Journal, 12/23/16)

“Voters from the liberal base apoplectic over Trump's presidency are demanding opposition at any cost.” (“Democrats In A Vise Over Trump's Supreme Court Pick,” AP, 2/2/17)

  • “The Democratic base is so roiled and enraged after only two weeks of Donald Trump’s presidency that a take-no-prisoners posture toward the White House is emerging… Gone are the concerns about appearing overly obstructionist… Officeholders are now chasing a base that will not tolerate any sign of accommodation.” (“Trump Sets Democratic Field Ablaze With Anger,” Politico, 2/6/17)


Related Issues: Senate Democrats, Nominations