At least 14 major donors to President Donald Trump's inaugural fund were later nominated to become ambassadors, despite having few relevant qualifications.
It's not unusual for presidents to offer foreign posts to wealthy donors, but the Trump administration has named more political appointees to top-level jobs -- and their nominations have stalled longer than usual in the Senate, reported NBC News.
A senior Senate staffer said Trump's nominees were confirmed at a 66-percent rate, compared to 96, 84 and 89 percent rates for Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, respectively.
"There may be questions about the qualifications of some of these people," said R. Nicholas Burns, a former ambassador and undersecretary of state for Bush. "What I don't know is if some of these people are being held up by the Democrats. That sometimes happens."
Marquette University law professor Ryan Scoville, who has analyzed the qualifications of nearly 2,000 ambassador nominees from the Reagan era onward, said Trump was continuing a downward trend.
"Trump's picks are less qualified than prior presidents'," Scoville said. "The level of qualification has eroded while the amount of contribution to candidates has risen."
NBC News analyzed more than a dozen contributors, who'd given slightly more than $350,000 on average to the Trump inauguration, and found six of the 14 nominations had stalled for months in the GOP-led Senate.
Trump's nominee for ambassador to the Bahamas incorrectly stated to Congress that the island nation was part of the U.S., rather than an independent nation, and his pick for the highly sensitive ambassadorship to the United Arab Emirates was a wealthy real estate developer with no diplomatic experience.
He named a rich car dealer to conduct diplomacy with Morocco, and his pick for Slovenia was the founder of an evangelical charity who frequently shared right-wing conspiracy theories on Facebook.