President Donald Trump blasted Congress again in a tweet Tuesday for the hundreds of vacancies across his administration, blaming “Democrat obstruction and delay” in particular for a lack of “Diplomats to foreign lands.”
But a review of the dozens of ambassadorships still not filled after over a year shows that most are because Trump’s administration hasn’t put forth nominees, not because of Senate Democrats.
Out of 182 total posts around the world, 20 percent are vacant — a figure that includes crucial posts like South Korea and South Africa, Turkey and the European Union, and Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar.
Trump’s administration has nominated 70 people for ambassadorships so far, and 51 have been confirmed — 24 career Foreign Service Officers and 27 political appointees. Seventeen other nominees are still awaiting confirmation, and two nominees were later withdrawn: former deputy national security adviser K.T. McFarland for Singapore and Jay Patrick Murray for Alternate Representative for Special Political Affairs at the United Nations.
That’s 24 percent of his nominees not confirmed by Congress, 15 percent lower than Trump claimed in his tweet.
There are also 37 posts with no nominee at all. Combined with the vacancies where a Trump nominee is awaiting confirmation, that means that 77 percent of current vacancies are empty because there’s no nominee.
Of the 48 vacant posts in total, Trump has put forward 11 names still awaiting confirmation. His other six nominees awaiting confirmation will replace a career ambassador already in the role if they’re confirmed.
Of the nominees awaiting confirmation, there are some controversial choices, including Doug Manchester, a businessman with allegations of sexual harassment, and Robin Bernstein, a Mar-a-Lago founding member who the White House bragged has “basic Spanish.”