Donald Trump has set an unofficial record for overseeing an executive branch of government with the most “acting” Cabinet secretaries and senior administrative aides.
It means that the “fine-tuned machine” Trump has boasted about only is acting like one. It also means that these critical federal agencies have no continuity, no solid command structure, no rock-solid leadership.
Labor Secretary Alex Acosta is the latest Cabinet secretary to quit. He did so under duress, of course, given his role in the shamefully light sentencing of a pedophile who’s now accused of sex trafficking.
Three of 15 Cabinet posts are now filled by acting secretaries/administrators. Four of eight Cabinet-level posts are being run by acting heads.
Most disturbing are these items: The Defense Department, the White House chief of staff, the United Nations ambassador and the Department of Homeland Security all are being filled by acting leaders.
This makes me shudder on a couple of levels. One of them involves the lack of leadership I’ve mentioned already. Another of them means that these individuals are operating without the requisite confirmation by the U.S. Senate. There’s also noise about Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats being the next presidential target for dismissal.
As for the chief of staff post, that one doesn’t require Senate approval, but the acting COS, Mick Mulvaney, still lacks the authority he ought to command as the individual charged with ensuring the White House runs with maximum efficiency.
This all is a direct reflection of the president, the master of chaos and confusion. What’s more, key posts charged with national security missions — Homeland Security, Defense, the U.N. — have no clear, rock-solid leadership in place to call the shots.
We are left, therefore, to rely on the president of the United States to run these departments. Don’t you feel safer now?