WASHINGTON—Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell took a swipe at his Democratic colleagues on the chamber floor Tuesday morning when he stated that President Donald Trump has fewer cabinet nominees at this point in his presidency than any president since George Washington.
“We’re no longer in the midst of a contentious presidential election. We have a new president and that president has put forth an exceptional Supreme Court nominee and a number of well-qualified cabinet nominees,” McConnell said. “And yet more than two weeks into his term, President Trump has the fewest cabinet secretaries confirmed than any other president since George Washington. The president deserves to have his cabinet in place. The American people deserve that as well.”
Senate Democrats say Republicans are “rushing” through Trump’s cabinet nominees and should require an appropriate vetting process but Brooklyn College History Professor Robert David Johnson told The Washington Post, “Most Cabinet nominations sailed through with little or no oversight,” up until the last 20 years.
The practice of vetting president’s cabinet nominees began after President Jimmy Carter’s pick to head up the Office of Management and Budget, Bert Lance, sailed through confirmation only to resign a few months later amid controversy and scandal, The Post noted.
However, while presidents following Carter up until Trump had well over the majority of their cabinet in place two weeks into their term, the nominees could also face potential filibusters, a procedure no longer available to the minority in the Senate to block cabinet level nominees, as a result of a rules change from then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid when Democrats held the gavel.