The media keeps calling U.S. special counsel David Weiss “Trump-appointed,” a label that, while technically true, has been used to frame the case in a misleading way.
Since 2018, Weiss has served as United States Attorney for the United States District Court for the District of Delaware, a position to which he was nominated by former President Donald Trump.
Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed Weiss as special counsel to continue the investigation into Hunter Biden. Weiss’ appointment came after IRS whistleblower Gary Shapley alleged that Biden-appointed U.S. attorneys blocked Weiss from charging the president’s son in D.C. and the Central District of California, a claim Weiss has denied. Shapley also testified that Weiss told a group of law enforcement officials he was “[n]ot the deciding person on whether charges are filed” in the Hunter Biden investigation. Weiss also denies that allegation.
Trump has rejected the claim that he was responsible for appointing Weiss in the first place. “David Weiss was picked by the two Democrat Senators from Delaware under ‘Blue Slip.’ He would not have been picked by me,” he wrote on Truth Social.
Despite the former president’s protests, the media has consistently referred to Weiss as a Trump-appointed attorney. Even the Daily Caller’s initial reporting noted Weiss was “Trump-appointed,” but it’s since become a key credibility argument among liberal media talking heads. So we’re here to set the record straight. (RELATED: Top Hunter Biden Prosecutor David Weiss Previously Worked With Beau Biden)
When Trump took office, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions asked the 46 remaining Obama-appointed U.S. attorneys to submit their resignations, leaving the spot that Charles Oberly once held in Delaware open. But although Trump ultimately makes the appointment, Senators within the state have some sway, according to FactCheck.org.
“There is an old Senate tradition going back to when George Washington was president called ‘senatorial courtesy,’ in which home state senators get a virtual veto over executive appointees with jobs that exist entirely within their home state,” Michigan State University political science professor Ian Ostrander told Fact Check. “Senatorial courtesy is the tradition that led to the more familiar blue slips process for court appointments in the Senate Judiciary Committee.”
Sens. Chris Coons and Tom Carper, both Democrats, recommended Weiss, a registered Republican, to Trump in 2017, with Carper calling Weiss “an excellent choice for U.S. Attorney for the District of Delaware.”
So, while it is accurate to call Weiss a “Trump-appointed” U.S. attorney, that label omits the fact that he was actually chosen by a pair of Democratic lawmakers and could mislead readers into thinking that Weiss was at one time a close ally of Trump.