Trump blames Se­nate Democrats for de­lay of his nom­i­nees.

Pres­i­dent blames Se­nate Democrats for de­lays in con­firm­ing nom­i­nees

The Washington Times Daily - - FRONT PAGE - BY DAVE BOYER

Pres­i­dent Trump held the first meet­ing of his full Cab­i­net on Mon­day, blam­ing Se­nate Democrats for de­lay­ing some of his nom­i­nees but vow­ing to “re­turn power to the peo­ple” with a wide range of ini­tia­tives to spur eco­nomic growth.

“We now have our Cab­i­net fi­nally ap­proved,” Mr. Trump said at the White House, sur­rounded by his full team of ad­vis­ers. “We’re here to change Wash­ing­ton, re­turn power to the peo­ple, and we’re here to give peo­ple a great shot at a great, great job.”

With re­porters in the Cab­i­net room, Mr. Trump re­ceived brief sta­tus re­ports from all of his ap­pointees and agency heads. Among them was em­bat­tled At­tor­ney Gen­eral Jeff Ses­sions, who said law-en­force­ment of­fi­cials around the na­tion are “so thrilled” at the sup­port they’re re­ceiv­ing from the new ad­min­is­tra­tion com­pared with the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion.

“The re­sponse is fab­u­lous around the coun­try,” Mr. Ses­sions said.

“You’re right, Jeff, thank you very much,” Mr. Trump replied.

The pres­i­dent said his new team has made great progress in the first five months, de­spite uni­fied op­po­si­tion from con­gres­sional Democrats. He pre­dicted the Se­nate would soon ap­prove a bill to re­peal and re­place Oba­macare with­out any help from Democrats.

“We will have zero back­ing from the Democrats,” Mr. Trump said. “They’re ob­struc­tion­ist, and that’s sad.”

The last of Mr. Trump’s nom­i­nees to lead a ma­jor Cab­i­net agency, La­bor Sec­re­tary Alex Acosta, was con­firmed by the Se­nate on April 27. Among the last five ad­min­is­tra­tions, only Pres­i­dent Obama took longer to fill out his Cab­i­net — one day longer than Mr. Trump.

The past four ad­min­is­tra­tions had a me­dian wait time of one day be­tween for­mal nom­i­na­tion and full Se­nate con­fir­ma­tion vote. The me­dian wait time for Mr. Trump’s Cab­i­net nom­i­nees was 25 days.

Democrats have slow-walked some of the nom­i­na­tions, caus­ing pro­ce­dural de­lays and boy­cotting some com­mit­tee votes. Mr. Trump also has been slow to sub­mit some nom­i­na­tions, and sev­eral wealthy nom­i­nees with com­plex busi­ness hold­ings en­dured a longer re­view in the Of­fice of Gov­ern­ment Ethics.

As Mr. Trump sub­mits more nom­i­na­tions for sub-Cab­i­net level posts, he com­plained that his nom­i­nees face “a very long process also, in­clud­ing Ethics Com­mit­tee, which has be­come very dif­fi­cult to deal with.”

Of 558 top posts re­quir­ing Se­nate con­fir­ma­tion, Mr. Trump still has yet to nom­i­nate any­one in 426 of them. The Part­ner­ship for Pub­lic Ser­vice said that as of May 20, 35 of Mr. Trump’s nom­i­nees had been con­firmed, com­pared with 130 for Mr. Obama at the same point in 2009.

While Mr. Trump came into of­fice pro­mot­ing bi­par­ti­san­ship, he and his ad­vis­ers in­creas­ingly are talk­ing about govern­ing with Repub­li­can votes only. The pres­i­dent cited the ef­fort to re­place Oba­macare as an ex­am­ple.

“If we had the great­est bill in the his­tory of the world, we wouldn’t get one vote from the Democrats,” the pres­i­dent said. “That’s the game. They think that’s their best po­lit­i­cal gain. They’re look­ing to ’18.”

The pres­i­dent’s daugh­ter Ivanka, who serves as a spe­cial ad­viser to him, said Mon­day that she wasn’t pre­pared for the high level of par­ti­san­ship when she moved her fam­ily from New York to Wash­ing­ton af­ter the elec­tion.

“There is a level of vi­cious­ness that I was not ex­pect­ing,” she said on “Fox & Friends.” “I was not ex­pect­ing the in­ten­sity of this ex­pe­ri­ence. Some of the dis­trac­tions and some of the fe­roc­ity I was a lit­tle blind­sided by on a per­sonal level.”

But she added, “This isn’t sup­posed to be easy.” With much of the me­dia and Democrats fo­cused on in­ves­ti­ga­tions into pos­si­ble col­lu­sion by Trump cam­paign of­fi­cials with Rus­sia, Mr. Trump plowed ahead Mon­day with prom­ises to build on eco­nomic gains since his elec­tion.

For ex­am­ple, he said the La­bor De­part­ment will make a “ma­jor an­nounce­ment” Wed­nes­day about ex­pand­ing ap­pren­tice­ship pro­grams.

“We’re go­ing to help get our young peo­ple the tech­ni­cal train­ing that they need to pur­sue re­ally ex­cit­ing ca­reers, and ca­reers that they can make good money, they can re­ally earn a great, great salary and maybe even open small busi­nesses,” Mr. Trump said.

The pres­i­dent’s 2018 bud­get pro­posal con­tains roughly the same amount for ap­pren­tice­ship pro­grams, $90 mil­lion, as was bud­geted un­der for­mer Pres­i­dent Barack Obama. Mr. Acosta said ad­min­is­tra­tion wants to en­cour­age unions and em­ploy­ers to part­ner more with col­leges on ap­pren­tice­ship pro­grams.

“The build­ing trades in­vest $1 bil­lion a year of pri­vate money to de­velop a skilled work­force,” Mr. Acosta said. “So, I want to chal­lenge the as­sump­tion that the only way to move pol­icy is to in­crease gov­ern­ment spend­ing.”

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

“We’re here to change Wash­ing­ton, re­turn power to the peo­ple, and we’re here to give peo­ple a great shot at a great, great job,” said Pres­i­dent Trump on Mon­day.

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