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Analysis of Appointments Pace

Overall, President Trump’s performance trails previous administrations by slightly less than three months. Despite special Senate efforts to confirm large numbers of nominees, President Trump has the fewest nominations and fewest confirmations in 40 years. 

Senate pace on vetting confirmations continues to take a week shorter than for past three administrations: averages 33 days.

On critical leadership positions, President Trump lags far behind President Obama’s pace.

  • Tracking 980 appointed positions and 221 critical leadership positions requiring Senate confirmation and comparing them to expectations based on the previous three transitions.
Nominations: -24.5%
Trump nominations begins to pick up while previous administrations long ago reached a kind of takeoff. The Trump administration continues to have the fewest nominations in 40 years. See Figure below.
Confirmations: -36%
Despite efforts by Senate Republicans to confirm a mass of nominees, previous administrations averaged more than a 100 confirmations more by now. The slowest performance on confirmations in 40 years.
Breakdown of Critical Leadership Positions — the “Stand Up”
Stand Up: -39%
Current performance continues to lag far behind previous administrations on the most critical government positions. The slowest stand up in 40 years
Positions National Security Management Economic Policy
President 72 108 41
Obama 51 66 25
Trump 32 30 18

Last Updated: 10/06/2017 @ 18:30 EST

ProjectedNoms 10-06-17

See our Appointments page for more detailed information and projects out to the 100 days.

The White House Transition Project documents the pace at which a new administration fills out the American executive branch through its appointments power. WHTP measures the pace of appointments in four ways. First, we track 980 presidential appointments requiring Senate confirmation (known as “PAS” positions). For these appointments, we track the pace of nominations and the pace of confirmations, measuring both against a projected historical average based on the three previous administrations. Second, on these 980 PAS positions, WHTP measures the differences between the vetting process in the White House and the process in the Senate to assess the contributions of each to the overall process. Third, WHTP identifies and tracks a core of 221 leadership positions critical to the functions of government. These positions include those concerned with national security, managing the economy, managing the executive agencies, and carrying through on key agenda items.  We believe that successfully filling out this second group of positions effectively “stands up” the American executive. Fourth, WHTP assesses the pace of fully standing up the critical leadership positions, including both presidential nominations and those already in place on inauguration day.

WHTP reports both these results every 10 days. See our Appointments page for more detailed information.


MoodyBanner_ScaledFor the 2017 cycle, the White House Transition Project and our partners at Rice University’s Baker Institute and the National Archives have presented a series of conferences covering a range of issues associated with presidential transitions, including a conference focused on handling a confrontation in the South China Sea that resembles the actual conflict that is ongoing in this part of the world.

DocBanner_12-18-16The White House Transition Project in coordination with our partners in the Moody Series on Presidential Leadership presents relevant content to professional and academic audiences. At our October 2016 event at the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library we produced a live discussion panel simulation similar to the events that transpired in the South China Sea only weeks before. See how our expert panel managed the crisis scenario.