When Will Donald Trump Finish Picking His Cabinet? The Trump Administration May Need More Vetting
One more thing to be thankful for: Thanksgiving Day looks to be a reprieve from the Trump transition team's Cabinet picks. After several days worth of announcements, President-elect Donald Trump and his family have jetted off to his Mar-a-Lago estate to celebrate, a break from the rotation of meetings at Trump Tower with potential appointees. So when will Donald Trump finish picking his Cabinet? Things might slow down for a few days around the holiday, but Trump got off to an early start. It might be even better to stay on the slower schedule, as speedy decisions might not be the greatest ones.
FiveThirtyEight reported that Trump's announcement of a Cabinet pick, Jeff Sessions on Nov. 18, was one of the earliest in recent memory. Not counting future chief-of-staff Reince Priebus that is (he has Cabinet-rank status but is not an official member as he is not confirmed by the Senate). Only George H.W. Bush appointed anyone this early in the past 50 years. He had selected two by that date. Therefore if Trump keeps naming them at the same rate, he could finish way ahead of schedule — even with taking the Thanksgiving holiday break into consideration.
One reason why Trump might be getting through them so quickly is that he may not fully vetting the candidates. Politico covered what it has been like inside the transition team using the example of Kansas Rep. Mike Pompeo for CIA chief. He was considered by transition team member California Rep. Devin Nunes to be a good choice. Aides forwarded the name along, Pompeo had an interview with Trump inside Trump Tower, and then he was nominated officially — all in about the span of five days. Normally there would be a huge questionnaire involved (Obama's had 63 questions) and months of vetting. Nunes told Politico he wasn't aware that any of that had happened.
The speed in which the nominations are coming — before a typical vetting process — could be part of the reason why Trump's picks are seen to be under-qualified. As a Huffington Post headline reads: "Donald Trump’s Cabinet Is On Track To Be The Least Experienced In Modern History." That sure isn't reassuring given Trump's lack of experience in politics. It's too early to say whether this will end up the case, but Norman Eisen, an ambassador that worked on Obama's transition told the news site that it sure looked that way. He explained that the Obama team was worried about too-little federal experience in its first Cabinet, but the "Trump transition has that problem on steroids.”
That all said, there are plenty of more picks to come, and some of the most important such as Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense have yet to be named. Choosing some experienced Washington folk could help people both at home and abroad feel more secure. At this point the speed of the vetting will have the biggest impact on how soon he finishes naming the Cabinet as a whole. And with this kind of thing, it's far better that he take his time.