Trump has complained that the process of confirming his nominees in Congress is “record-setting long” and has blamed Democratic lawmakers for stalling the process.
However, while the Senate has taken longer to confirm Trump’s nominees than it took with nominees of the previous several presidents, the real problem may be the president’s disorganized and chaotic transition.
The groundwork of lining up potential nominees for a new administration usually begins well before Election Day with candidates beginning early to identify people they would want in the executive branch.
But with the Trump election campaign and later the Trump presidential transition almost none of that preparation took place.
Previous incoming presidents identified a large group of potential nominees either during the campaign or the transition. But the Trump transition was well behind schedule compared to other recent presidents in lining up candidates for key roles.
The delayed start continues to plague the administration with only 151 nominations having been announced for the more than 500 critical jobs across the executive branch that require Senate confirmation.
The Obama administration had announced 284 nominations by this point, and Bush had named 245, according to figures compiled by the nonpartisan Partnership for Public Service.
Trump has signed off on more than 350 nominees, which would mean that more than 200 of these people are currently undergoing a background review.
The White House points to the long, behind-the-scenes process of shepherding each nominee from selection to confirmation as a key cause of the current backlog.
“Each nominee must pass a thorough background investigation before they can be officially nominated – everything from standard background checks to careful research and individual outreach to peers and colleagues,” White House spokesperson Lindsay Walters told ABC News.
Once a potential nominee is identified, it can take upwards of 45 days for that person to go through an FBI background check and a review by the Office of Government Ethics, all of which is typically done before the nominee’s name is sent to the Senate for confirmation.
Trump’s nominees are taking 43 days on average to be confirmed, about 11 days longer for each person.