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Last week Sarah Huckabee Sanders called out Senate Democrats, or more specifically Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, for slow-rolling the nominations of key positions in the administration.
Sanders used the example of Richard Grenell, an openly gay former U.S. spokesperson at the United Nations who was nominated last September by you to be Ambassador to Germany.
I agree that this and other nominations should be resolved as quickly as possible, especially with so many waiting for confirmation. And I am happy that Sanders has brought this issue up (her mispronunciation of Senator Klobuchar’s name notwithstanding) since it does, as she said, put our “national security and America’s foreign policy interests in jeopardy”.
But I take issue with several of the assertions she makes to argue her point. We must all remember it’s hard to take what she or anyone else in your administration says at face value.
First on Grenell’s nomination, it seems that Senator Chris Murphy purportedly held up the nomination initially over “comments Grenell made years ago on Twitter about the appearance of women, including Hillary Clinton, Madeleine Albright, Callista Gingrich and Rachel Maddow.” According to a recent report, Murphy does not hold those objections any longer and actually suggests that Senate Majority Leader McConnell “can bring it up for a vote anytime he wants.” From a procedural matter this is true, so push McConnell to bring it up to a vote to see where it goes.
Second, Sanders asserts that “compared to the four previous administrations, this Senate has confirmed the fewest nominees.” Yes this is true, but it is also true that this administration has nominated the fewest nominees compared to the four previous administrations.
In fact, according to the Washington Post and Partnership for Public Service, which are tracking the 639 key executive branch nominations through the Senate confirmation process, your administration (surprise, surprise) has fewer nominations than the last four previous administrations.
Finally, if we believe Sanders, your administration is also putting our “national security and America’s foreign policy interests in jeopardy” but not even nominating anyone so far for 56 State Department positions, including ambassadors to Korea, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Yemen, or 7 positions in the Department of Defense
And let’s not even mention the 153 other positions at Agriculture, Commerce, Energy, Education, HHS, Homeland Security, Justice…well you get the idea.
And the hundreds of appointments that are likely not filled across the government, not to mention the folks you’ve lost at the White House.
You have always said you hire the best people, and we know how well that has gone.
It appears there are still plenty of opportunities though for you to prove us wrong.