Politics

Trump May Not Have Administration Fully Staffed Until 2018

Donald Trump has named most of his cabinet choices, as well as his picks for some key ambassadorships. But he has yet to name any of the lower-level officials that perform much of the day-to-day work of running the executive branch.

President-elect Donald Trump

There are about 1,400 senior positions that Donald Trump needs Senate confirmation to fill. Add in lower-level appointees and White House staff, and the total comes to more than 4,000.

“The vast number of political appointments is yet to be made,” says Ambassador Chase Untermeyer, director of presidential personnel under George H.W. Bush. Going at the current pace, Untermeyer says it could take at least a year to fill out the ranks of the new administration.

Start off with the deputy secretaries. These are the top lieutenants of the cabinet secretaries. Often, they wind up doing much of the work of running their departments. Then come all the assistant and undersecretaries, agency heads and ambassadors.

“All those people have to be chosen,” Untermeyer says. “They have to fill out their financial papers, and they have to fill out the personal disclosure forms that tell every job they ever had, every school they ever went to, every foreign country they ever visited, every house they ever lived in.”

The process got off to a late start, thanks in part to upheaval in Trump’s transition team. Just days after his election, Trump fired New Jersey Governor Chris Christie as head of the transition, replacing him with Vice President-elect Mike Pence. Several other team members close to Christie were also fired or resigned.

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Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew heads Houston Public Media’s coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments across Greater Houston. Before taking up his current post, Andrew spent five years as Houston Public Media’s business reporter, covering the oil...

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