The turnover of presidential administrations is a huge undertaking -- especially when it comes to staffing. No president can come into office with all of their nominees picked, but government experts say it’s best to have a few hundred in place by the August recess. Here is where President Donald Trump stands compared with the past two presidents after one year as president.
Note: If a Congressional recess lasts at least 30 days, Senate rules call for all pending nominations to be returned. President Bush had 118 nominees returned under the rule during his first year. The chart above includes nominations he resubmitted in September 2001.
Bush and Obama nominations data provided by the Partnership for Public Service. Trump nominations were collected by CNN.
There are more than 4,000 positions for Trump to fill, more than 1,200 of which require Senate confirmation. The actual number appointed in a president’s first year can be hundreds less because the terms of some positions haven’t expired yet or because the administration is willing to have some vacancies.
Thus far, Trump has lagged behind the pace of his predecessors, partially because he has nominated far fewer candidates, something he has said he’s doing on purpose.
“I’m generally not going to make a lot of the appointments that would normally be -- because you don’t need them,” Trump told Forbes in an interview published in October. “I mean, you look at some of these agencies, how massive they are, and it’s totally unnecessary. They have hundreds of thousands of people.”
But he has also had far fewer confirmed and the White House has complained about a logjam in the Senate.
There have also been alarm bells raised about the levels of staffing in the government, particularly at the State Department and other agencies where senior officials have retired or been pushed out.
Staffing the government is also not just about Cabinet-level officials. Deputy secretaries and second and third-tier appointments at agencies -- especially ones that deal with national security -- are considered just as essential as selecting the names at the top. Deputies are often in charge of managing the day-to-day functioning of an agency and can oversee core components. Experts say it's important to pick a slate of individuals relatively quickly who can learn to work well together. Here’s where the current administration stands on staffing individual agencies.
See more agencies
Trump often blames Democrats for delaying his nominations, even though Republicans control the Senate. Democrats can no longer filibuster presidential appointments, but they have used procedural tactics to slow some down. They insist that Trump controls the pace of his nominations. Here’s a look at how long the process has taken for each of Trump’s nominees so far.
Use the menus to filter nominations by agency and order it by nomination date. Hover or tap to view more.
Nomination details for Trump administration come from senate.gov. Only Senate-confirmable presidential appointments classified as “civilian” are included. Judiciary appointments are excluded.