Trump has repeatedly blamed Senate Democrats for holding up his appointments. It’s true that the Senate has moved somewhat more slowly to confirm Trump’s nominees than it did to confirm Obama’s: 43 days on average for Trump versus 35 days for Obama. But the bigger problem is that Trump has put forward far fewer nominees than past presidents had at this point in their terms. The Partnership for Public Service and The Washington Post are tracking key appointments that require Senate confirmation; as of Friday, 384 of the 564 positions had no formal nominee and 130 had been nominated but not confirmed. Four appointments had been announced by Trump but not yet submitted to the Senate.
“The biggest obstacle [to filling the positions] is that the White House hasn’t submitted nominations,” said Darrell West, director of governance studies at the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank.