Even GOP senators are alarmed that Trump has 'way too many' vacancies in key cabinet posts
Trump's planned tariffs on steel and aluminium have triggered fears of a trade war. (AFP / MANDEL NGAN)

President Donald Trump is currently relying on "acting" officials for multiple key positions in his administration, ranging from attorney general to chief of staff to secretary of defense.

While the president seemingly prefers to have officials appointed without going through Senate scrutiny, even some Republican senators are sounding the alarm about an understaffed White House.

“It’s a lot, it’s way too many,” Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) tells the Washington Post of the multiple administration vacancies. “You want to have confirmed individuals there because they have a lot more authority to be able to make decisions and implement policy when you have a confirmed person in that spot.”

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) tells the Post that she's been really pressing the president to name a successor to former Defense Secretary James Mattis, who resigned in December after a dispute with the president over withdrawing troops from Syria.

"We absolutely need to have a permanent nominee," she explains. "I do feel that in order to reassure allies and also to push back on our adversaries, it’s very important that we have a permanent secretary of defense."

And Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) tells the Post that "it worries me" that the administration has so many vacancies with no permanent nominees in sight.