Trump: What We Don’t Know

What is the Trump administration doing? What has it accomplished? More important, what has it not accomplished? For the most part, we don’t know.

Part of the reason is that so many top government positions are either empty or are filled by temporary “acting” personnel. According to the most recent information I could find, a Fortune article dated November 2019, we have 28 acting cabinet secretaries not confirmed by the Senate. Similar numbers apply to senior ranking advisors.

And top jobs in many departments go unfilled. One of the worst is the State Department—which Trump dislikes—where almost half the top jobs are empty. Dozens of embassies are understaffed, and no ambassadors have been named to many countries.

Of course, we have no information about the state of classified work in the government. We know that Trump disdains the U.S. intelligence community whose 16 agencies concurred that Russia attempted to interfere in the 2016 election to help elect Trump. These agencies are the eyes and ears of the government. To the degree that they are crippled or weakened, danger to the U.S. increases. The job of Director of National Intelligence (DNI), who oversees their work, is currently an acting official, unconfirmed by the Senate.

But even the status of unclassified government bureaus remains murky. Little or no news about the state they are in is reported by the press. The regular press briefings common in previous administrations have largely disappeared. We simply don’t know.

I suspect that only after Trump leaves office will we begin to discover the havoc he has wreaked.

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