President Trump has filled far fewer top jobs in cabinet or cabinet-level agencies than President Barack Obama had at this point in his presidency.
This is largely because of the slow pace of Mr. Trump’s nominations, according to a New York Times analysis. Mr. Trump has announced 36 percent of the 188 leadership positions that The Times is tracking below the secretary level, compared with 78 percent for Mr. Obama over the same period.
“It’s always been slow, but Trump is running at a subglacial speed,” said Paul C. Light, a professor at New York University who specializes in political appointments.
The White House says Senate Democrats are to blame for the vacancies, and it is true they have used obstruction tactics to delay the confirmation of some nominees. David Malpass, for example, still has not been confirmed even though he was nominated in March for the Treasury’s under secretary for international affairs.
On average, however, among the group included in The Times’s analysis, Mr. Trump’s nominees have only taken nine days longer to be confirmed than Mr. Obama’s.
It is also true that Mr. Trump has taken longer to nominate these senior officials. Many departments have only one confirmed position — the top job. Ten of the 15 cabinet agencies are operating without a deputy secretary, the second highest job in an agency. Several nominations for the No. 2 spots did not happen until after Mr. Trump was in office for 100 days, and some have yet to be announced.
“Yes, delay tactics are slowing down the process, but President Trump should have more nominees in the pipeline,” said Anne Joseph O’Connell, a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley, who specializes in political staffing of federal agencies.