Four months into his presidency, Donald Trump has filled only five of the 53 top jobs at the Pentagon – the slowest pace for nominations and confirmations in over half a century.
Several of his high-profile picks, including Navy and Army secretary nominees, have had to withdraw because of their business entanglements. In other cases, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis has clashed with the White House, which has blacklisted national security and defense leaders who publicly disagreed with Trump during the 2016 campaign, according to several current and former defense officials.
“In the vetting process there is a lot of scrutiny of social media accounts, Twitter . . . any hint of something negative about Trump as a candidate can be disqualifying, and a lot of people haven’t made it through that filter,” said Christine Wormuth, who served as the Pentagon’s top policy official from 2014 to 2016, under former President Barack Obama’s administration.
The investigation into ties between the Trump campaign and Russian officials is also scaring off people who had been on the fence about joining the administration. Even the opportunity to work under Mattis, who many of the potential picks know and respect, may not be enough.
“With, frankly, the chaos that is happening, people who might have been open to it are asking themselves ‘Do I want to join this administration? How much of an impact will I have? Will I have to get a lawyer?’” Wormuth said.http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/white-house/article154052384.html