By JOHN KANELIS / firstname.lastname@example.org
President Biden deserved to have his executive team fully signed on and ready to get to work the moment he pulled his hand off the Bible at his inauguration.
That hasn’t happened. The culprit, from what I have witnessed, was the refusal by his predecessor, Donald Trump, to guarantee a “smooth and seamless transition” after Biden won the 2020 presidential election.
Oh, no. What we got was obstruction, incessant lying about electoral theft, threats of litigation and, finally, a bloody insurrection on the steps of the U.S. Capitol.
The result is that President Biden has part of the Cabinet in office. Many other key offices, including some Cabinet posts and high-level advisory jobs that have Cabinet-level authority, are still vacant.
To be sure, there have been a hiccup or two among the selections Biden has made. Neera Tanden withdrew her name from consideration as director of the Office of Management and Budget; too many U.S. senators said they couldn’t support her because of some of the mean tweets she published that were critical of Republicans. So, rather than continue the fight, Tanden backed away.
That’s one pick that Biden needs to do over.
As for the others, the Senate has been dragging its feet on some of them. Attorney General-designate Merrick Garland only this week received an endorsement from the Senate Judiciary Committee. He is arguably the key individual who should have been on the job already, but has been held up by partisan politicking. Then we have the Health and Human Services secretary-designate, Xavier Becerra, who needs to take charge of an agency charged with managing the fight against that pandemic.
The Senate has confirmed 10 of 15 Cabinet appointments.
Donald Trump could have greased the proverbial skids for his successor simply by accepting the election results when it became clear to the rest of the world that he had lost to Joe Biden. He didn’t do that. He chose instead to fight. The transition was not “peaceful.” It was violent and it was utterly beyond the pale.
I am heartened to know, though, that President Biden’s years of legislative experience have held him in good stead even as he plods forward trying to fill his executive branch ranks. Imagine the chaos had he entered the presidency with Donald Trump’s blank sheet of government experience or knowledge of how government works.