Obama Is Out, but 50 Staffers Unexpectedly Remain

Obama appointees to stick around until posts are filled
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 20, 2017 11:28 AM CST
Obama Is Out, but 50 Staffers Unexpectedly Remain
President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, President-elect Donald Trump and Melania Trump stand at the White House in Washington, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Barack Obama may have exited the White House, but some of his administration staffers are unexpectedly sticking around. New White House press secretary Sean Spicer says 50 State Department and national security officials who served under Obama will stay at their posts temporarily, while Obama appointee Thomas A. Shannon Jr. has been named as acting secretary of State pending Rex Tillerson's confirmation, the New York Times reports. The goal is to ensure "continuity of government" as just 30 of 660 executive appointments have been filled, according to the Partnership for Public Service. Politico has reviewed the last five administrations and says the last time a Cabinet was filled this slowly (only 2 of 15 nominees have gotten the OK from congressional committees) was in 1989 under George HW Bush.

Politico quotes one Democratic senator as saying Trump's choice to go with "billionaires with enormously complicated financial situations, and people who have enormous conflicts of interests" has hampered things. Republicans have instead accused Democrats of dragging out the confirmation process, while some transition officials have put the blame on Chris Christie, who headed Trump's transition team before he was fired in November. The Times, however, says it has viewed the transition plan created by Christie and details what it saw, including guidelines to complete Cabinet and ambassador appointments in December. Despite the delay, one transition official doesn't get all the fuss. The transition has "gone pretty well and this is the best you can expect," he tells the Daily Beast. "If anybody expects this to be a frictionless process, they're kind of nuts." (Read more Donald Trump stories.)

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