Cabinet heads forced to clear hires with former Trump campaign staffers to ensure loyalty to president
Newly installed cabinet picks are growing increasingly frustrated with the Trump White House over their inability to staff their departments due to interference from the president’s inner circle who want only Trump loyalists.
According to a report from Politico, the administration has created a new position, described as a “senior White House adviser,” at many of the major departments, whose job is to look at new hires and decide whether they fully back the president. In many cases, those spots are being filled by former campaign staffers with no experience related to the department they are overseeing.
“A lot of these special advisers are overwhelmed, because they have very little relevant issue area expertise and are sometimes way out of their depth,” a source inside the Trump White House explained.
According to former George W. Bush political director Matt Schlapp, who was involved in staffing during the Bush administration, “It often breaks down into trying to appoint your allies into jobs and that can lead to a lot of bad policy formulations.”
In the case of Housing and Urban Development, where former surgeon Dr. Ben Carson recently took over, top aide Shermichael Singleton was recently fired and escorted from the office for remarks critical of Trump despite working for Carson for years.
According to the New York Times, Singleton’s crime was writing, “My party in particular has allowed itself to be taken over by someone who claims to be a Republican but doesn’t represent any of our values, principles or traditions,” about Trump in October of 2016.
While newly appointed National Security Adviser Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, was promised no interference in his hiring of his staffers, other cabinet officials have not been so lucky.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has battled with the White House on his choices to fill important positions, with several of his selections turned down because they previously made disparaging remarks about the President during the primaries. What this has created is a massive vacancies at the State Department with one source noting Tillerson “basically has nobody in his agency yet.”
Adding to the problems relating to the special advisers shooting down qualified candidates because they don’t fit the Trump mold, cabinet heads are also having trouble convincing those who might pass muster to accept jobs in a Trump administration that may damage their careers.