“Disaster.” “Erratic Leadership.” “Failed.” These are just a few words the mainstream media has recently used to describe Donald Trump’s presidency, as a part of the popular narrative that the President and GOP Congress are to blame for their inability to pass major legislation this year. Polls show that many Americans, including some who voted for Donald Trump, are beginning to lose patience with this lack of progress. But is the Trump administration really the problem?
Throughout Trump’s presidency, there has been constant obstruction from the Democrats which has weakened and delayed the implementation of the President’s agenda for the American people.
Senate Democrats, for example, have delayed major appointments made by the President to an unprecedented degree. The Senate, to date, has only confirmed 48 of President Trump’s 197 nominations to federal agencies and only 2 of the President’s 23 judicial nominations. This type of obstruction was unheard of during the Obama presidency. By the first August recess during President Obama’s first term, 69 percent of the 454 nominees he had selected had been confirmed by the Senate. As President Trump approaches his first August recess, however, only 23 percent of his 216 nominees have been confirmed.
The Democrats have shown that they will do everything possible to “resist” this President and his administration.
President Trump’s nominations have also endured some of the most time-consuming procedures from Senate Democrats — procedures not previously seen in other administrations. Only 10 percent of President Trump’s confirmations have taken place by voice vote, while over 90 percent of Obama’s nominees were confirmed by voice vote by this point in 2009. And Senate Democrats have delayed President Trump’s nominations by going through the cloture process 30 times. By Obama’s first August recess during his first term, there had been only 8 cloture votes on his nominations.
By not following through with President Trump’s agenda, the Democrats are leaving many key national security positions vacant. This, in turn, jeopardizes the safety and security of many American lives. The Department of Defense, for example, is still missing 16 of the 22 nominees put forward by President Trump. Senate Democrats are also looking for ways to obstruct President Trump’s law-and-order policies — which have proven popular among American voters. Nevertheless, with the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security having only 6 combined nominees confirmed, it has been nearly impossible for the President to push this agenda forward.
Additionally, as the President continues to advocate for better healthcare for the American people, only 3 out of his 11 nominations to the Department of Health and Human Services have been confirmed. While Republicans in Congress certainly bear a good deal of the blame for the difficulty in replacing Obamacare, these vacancies at HHS have not helped either.
Although President Trump has made credible nominations to key positions, obstructionism by Senate Democrats has prevented the confirmation of those who would otherwise be working to carry out the President’s agenda. For a mainstream media that rarely missed an opportunity during the Obama years to report on Republican obstructionism, their relative lack of attention to the Democrats’ similar tactics under Trump is a glaring omission, indeed.
Photo credit: Senate Democrats via Flickr, CC BY 2.0