A Tale of Two Cabinets – Obama 2009 vs Trump 2017 – Updated & Final

 
President Trump and his cabinet on March 13, 2017.

A couple of months ago, I published a post which compared the Senate confirmation process during the first Obama administration and the current Trump administration. The point of the post was to document the unparalleled level of obstruction on the part of the Senate Democrats during the current cabinet confirmation process. At the time, I promised to update the comparison once the current confirmation process was completed. That happened Thursday, when the US Senate confirmed Robert Lighthizer as US Trade Representative by a vote of 84-12.

For the sake of comparison, let me re-post the cabinet confirmation table for Obama 2009;

Obama 2008-2009

Dept – – – – – Nominee – Announce – Confirm Vote

State – – – – -Clinton – – 12/1/08 – – 1/21/09 94-2

Defense – – -Gates – – – -12/1/08

Justice – – – Holder – – – 12/1/08 – -1/28/09 75-21

Treasury – -Geithner – – 11/30/08 -1/26/09 60-34

Interior – – -Salazar – – – 12/19/08 -1/20/09 Voice Vote

Agriculture Vilsack – – – -12/17/08 -1/20/09 Unanimous Consent

Commerce – Locke* – – – -2/23/09 -3/24/09 Unanimous Consent

Labor – – – – -Solis – – – – – 12/19/08 -2/24/09 80-17

HHS – – – – -Sebelius** – – 3/2/09 – -4/28/09 65-31

Education – Duncan – – – – 12/16/08 -1/20/09 Voice Vote

HUD – – – – -Donovan – – – -12/13/08 -1/27/09 Unanimous Consent

Transportation LaHood – – 12/19/08 -1/23/09 Voice Vote

Energy – – – – Chu – – – – – – 12/17/08 – -1/20/09 Unanimous Consent

VA – – – – – – – Shinseki – – – -12/7/08 – -1/20/09 Voice Vote

Home Sec – -Napolitano – – 12/1/08 – -1/21/09 Voice Vote

EPA – – – – – Jackson – – – – -12/15/08 -1/22/09 Voice Vote

OMB – – – – -Orszag – – – – – -11/25/08 – 1/20/09 Voice Vote

UN Amb – – Rice – – – – – – – 12/1/08 – -1/22/09 Voice Vote

USTR – – – – Kirk – – – – – – – 12/19/08 – -3/18/09 92-5

  • Locke was Obama’s third pick for Commerce Secretary. His first pick New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson withdrew on January 4, 2009 due to federal investigations into his political donors. Obama’s second pick, Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH) withdrew citing ideological differences with the new administration.
  • Sebelius was Obama’s second choice for HHS. His first choice former Democratic Senator Tom Daschle withdrew on Febuary 3, 2009 due conflict of interest concerns regarding his receipt of over $16 million dollars from healthcare lobbying organizations.
  • Nominees Geithner, Solis and Kirk had tax issues which slowed their confirmations

The Democrats had control of the Senate during this period. After the 2008 election, the senate composition was 57 Dem, 41 Rep & 2 Ind with the Independents (Lieberman of Conn & Sanders of Vermont) caucusing with the Dems. However, because of the need to replace Obama & Biden and a contested election in Minnesota, the Democrats had only 55 senators by January 20 and did not reach the 57 total until April 26, 2009.

Now, the final Trump cabinet table;

Trump 2016-2017

Dept  ………. NomineeAnnouncement Confirm Vote

State …………Tillerson ….12/13/16 ………..2/1/17 56-43

Defense ……..Mattis ……..12/01/16 ……….1/20/17 98-1

Justice ……….Sessions …..11/18/16 ……….2/8/17 52-47

Treasury …….Mnunchin …11/30/16 ……..2/13/17 53-47

Interior ………Zinke ……….12/15/16 ………3/1/17 53-47

Agriculture ….Perdue ……..1/18/17 ……….4/24/17 87-11

Commerce …..Ross ………..11/30/16 ………2/27/17 72-27

Labor ………….Acosta ………2/16/17 ……….4/27/17 60-38

HHS ……………Price ……….11/29/16 ……….2/10/17 52-47

Education ……DeVos ……..11/23/16 ………..2/7/17 51-50

HUD ……………Carson ……12/5/16 ………….3/2/17 58-41

Transportation Chao ……..11/29/16 …………1/31/17 93-6

Energy …………..Perry …….12/14/16 ………….3/2/17 62-37

VA …………………Shulkin …..1/1/17 ……………2/13/17 100-0

Home Sec ………Kelly ……..12/7/16 ……………1/20/17 88-11

EPA ………………Pruitt ……..12/7/16 ……………2/17/17 52-46

OMB …………….Mulvaney …12/16/16 ………….2/16/17 51-49

UN Amb ……….Haley ……….11/23/16 ………….1/24/17 96-4

USTR ……………Lighthizer ….1/3/17 …………….5/11/17 84-12

Trump had one cabinet nominee withdraw during the nomination process – Andy Pudzer – who was nominated for Secretary of Labor on December 8, 2016 and withdrew on February 15, 2017 due to not paying taxes on an illegal alien employee.

The Senate composition during the 2017 confirmation process is 52 Republican, 46 Democrat and 2 Independents (King of Maine and Sanders of Vermont, both of whom caucus with the Democrats).

On average Obama announced his cabinet nominees 26.5 days prior to his inauguration, while Trump announced his cabinet nominees almost two weeks earlier – 39.1 days prior to inauguration. Despite this, Obama’s nominees were confirmed earlier than were those of Trump by any method of measure. Obama’s nominees were confirmed 48.8 days after they were announced, while Trumps nominees were confirmed over three weeks later – 72.2 days after they were announced on average. Obama’s nominees were confirmed on average 15.7 days after his inauguration, while it took twice as long by this metric for Trump’s nominees to be confirmed – 34.4 days after Trumps’ inauguration. Obama’s eighteen cabinet nominees received a grand total of 110 nay votes, while the nineteen Trump nominees received five times as many nay votes – 550.

This nomination cycle witnessed several firsts – the first time a Vice President cast the tie-breaking vote for a cabinet nomination (Betsy DeVos at Education) & the first time a nominee who is a current U S Senator (Jeff Sessions at DOJ) has had a sitting U S Senator testify against him (the grandstanding Cory Booker of New Jersey). And, except for Pudzer, who withdrew, the Trump nominees did not have the scandal problems of the Obama nominees. The level of obstruction by the Democrats during this nomination cycle was truly historic and appalling.

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There are 18 comments.

  1. Member

    I think we have found out who the truly “deplorable” are.

    • #1
    • May 11, 2017, at 10:53 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  2. Inactive

    tigerlily, thanks very much for this helpful summary.

    • #2
    • May 12, 2017, at 4:44 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  3. Inactive

    It’s unbelievable. I’ll never get used to it, even after what seems an eternity: the media and Congressional Dems constant attempts to portray Trump as an insane megalomaniac. Coupled, in Congress, with as much obstructionism as they can muster.

    Two days ago, the headlines were all : “Two Scoops of Ice Craem for Trump, only One for Everybody Else”. I assumed this was metaphorical, like “a bigger piece of the pie”– but no! They actually were upset that Trump ate 2 scoops of ice cream. As though the White House only could afford one carton and everybody else was necessarily deprived.

    Ice cream inequality.

    So it’s hopeless. Getting China to buy American beef? (Yawn.) But a little extra dessert? STOP THE PRESSES!!!

    • #3
    • May 13, 2017, at 4:43 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  4. Inactive

    Did you see all those stories about how Trump was a bust in his first 100 days in office?

    Did anyone see any mass media stories that gave credit for the lack of accomplishments to the Democrats for slow-walking Trump’s cabinet appointments? Yeah, me neither.

    • #4
    • May 13, 2017, at 5:08 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  5. Member

    So is there a lesson for the Republicans to be found anywhere here? Probably not…but for me the lessen is simple: kick their butts anytime you can. Forget any Senate rules or traditions of any kind that impair your ability to do what you promised when seeking the support of your constituents in getting elected. Oh, and did I forget the part about being smart with your fellow Republicans? Stop behaving like a herd of cats, work in unison, and accomplish goals. Ignore the Democrats just like they ignored you when they passed Obamacare.

    • #5
    • May 13, 2017, at 6:14 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  6. Member

    Adding one more point. Look to the leadership of your President and treat the media with the same disdain as he does. They can hurt you only if you let them.

    • #6
    • May 13, 2017, at 6:17 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  7. Inactive

    cdor (View Comment):
    Adding one more point. Look to the leadership of your President and treat the media with the same disdain as he does. They can hurt you only if you let them.

    There has been an earthquake in the media. Two years ago I would have advised my congressman to forget national media but to cozy up as much as possible to local media. However, in the past two years the newspapers in the two largest markets in our district were purchased by the USA Today Network, and they laid off dozens of workers, in both production and news. Now even local stories are sometimes covered by reporters from their hub in our state capitol.

    The media can hurt a politician. It takes quite a lot to overcome their slights and digs.

    But people are becoming more distrustful of the media. In my little purple suburb of our large blue city, there was an anti-incumbent mood among voters last fall. We were looking to turn out some underperforming aldermen. The only incumbent who kept his job was the one that the newspaper was actively campaigning against with slanders and innuendos. I would have voted against him, but their hatchet jobs against him led me to leave that line un-punched on my ballot. I did not vote in that race on account of I would have been voting the way the newspaper wanted me to.

    • #7
    • May 13, 2017, at 7:06 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  8. Member

    MJBubba (View Comment):

    cdor (View Comment):
    Adding one more point. Look to the leadership of your President and treat the media with the same disdain as he does. They can hurt you only if you let them.

    There has been an earthquake in the media. Two years ago I would have advised my congressman to forget national media but to cozy up as much as possible to local media. However, in the past two years the newspapers in the two largest markets in our district were purchased by the USA Today Network, and they laid off dozens of workers, in both production and news. Now even local stories are sometimes covered by reporters from their hub in our state capitol.

    The media can hurt a politician. It takes quite a lot to overcome their slights and digs.

    But people are becoming more distrustful of the media. In my little purple suburb of our large blue city, there was an anti-incumbent mood among voters last fall. We were looking to turn out some underperforming aldermen. The only incumbent who kept his job was the one that the newspaper was actively campaigning against with slanders and innuendos. I would have voted against him, but their hatchet jobs against him led me to leave that line un-punched on my ballot. I did not vote in that race on account of I would have been voting the way the newspaper wanted me to.

    Thanks for enhancing my point. The media are myopic. They only know each other and think everyone else believes them. Republicans have an opportunity to finally break themselves of the chains of the Washington Post and the NY Times.

    • #8
    • May 13, 2017, at 7:15 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  9. Thatcher

    Hypatia (View Comment):
    So it’s hopeless. Getting China to buy American beef? (Yawn.) But a little extra dessert? STOP THE PRESSES!!!

    The China story has been barely reported. It makes me sick.

    • #9
    • May 13, 2017, at 11:39 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  10. Thatcher

    MJBubba (View Comment):
    The media can hurt a politician. It takes quite a lot to overcome their slights and digs.

    My Dem friends believe every single thing on MSNBC. Rachel is their God.

    • #10
    • May 13, 2017, at 11:41 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  11. Inactive

    MJBubba (View Comment):
    The media can hurt a politician. It takes quite a lot to overcome their slights and digs.

    But people are becoming more distrustful of the media.

    I have thought about this a lot, and I’ve always wondered what would happen if one of the TV stations here in Austin just said, “Screw it, we’re going after ratings and the world can kiss our collective butts!” and then went out and wrote good stories about the cops saving people, and stories about the Texas Legislature passing laws to help people, and positive stories about all the Congress is doing now to rebuild our country, and highlighting the positive effects of the Trump Presidency. I think they would trounce the other stations, all of whom do the exact opposite on their newscasts.

    I can’t watch local news any more. The first story is always about a “cop gone bad” – usually video footage of a cop pepper-spraying a drunk hippie who was punching him in the face – “in self-defense” of course. That’s followed by a interview of a minority person calling some random Republican a racist because he wouldn’t capitulate to whatever he was demanding at that moment. Next up is the evil Texas Legislature proving how evil they really are by writing Bills that enforce our borders or something similar. Then they move to national news and it’s bash Trump until the commercial break.

    I’m betting it isn’t just Austin; I’ll bet the local news is exactly like this across the country. I wish just one of these stations had the guts to try it!

    • #11
    • May 13, 2017, at 12:52 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  12. Inactive

    Goldwaterwoman (View Comment):

    MJBubba (View Comment):
    The media can hurt a politician. It takes quite a lot to overcome their slights and digs.

    My Dem friends believe every single thing on MSNBC. Rachel is their God.

    I know a couple people like that, too, but I won’t call them “friends”. They are convinced Putin had KGB agents inside every polling place making sure people pulled the lever for Trump, or something. To be honest, since there is no evidence, I’m not really sure how they believe Putin helped Trump win in places like Michigan and Pennsylvania. Maybe Harry Potter-style magic? If you believe in Hillary, you must believe in Harry Potter, right?

    • #12
    • May 13, 2017, at 12:57 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  13. Member

    Great job, tigerlily.

    • #13
    • May 13, 2017, at 1:13 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  14. Member

    JcTPatriot (View Comment):
    I’m betting it isn’t just Austin; I’ll bet the local news is exactly like this across the country. I wish just one of these stations had the guts to try it!

    You are correct. It is certainly that way in Bay Area California.

    • #14
    • May 13, 2017, at 3:53 PM PDT
    • Like
  15. Inactive

    Rodin (View Comment):

    JcTPatriot (View Comment):
    I’m betting it isn’t just Austin; I’ll bet the local news is exactly like this across the country. I wish just one of these stations had the guts to try it!

    You are correct. It is certainly that way in Bay Area California.

    No wonder you carry a serrated boomerang.

    • #15
    • May 13, 2017, at 3:57 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  16. Member

    Journalists don’t care about profit – except in the negative sense that they think it is evil. They care about professional advancement and the esteem of their peers. Professional advancement means a job in NY or DC. Esteem means a Pulitzer. Both mean bashing Republicans, conservatives and America.

    There is no escape from liberal-dominated journalism except by burning the profession and the industry to the ground first.

    • #16
    • May 14, 2017, at 1:35 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  17. Member
    tigerlily Post author

    genferei (View Comment):
    Journalists don’t care about profit – except in the negative sense that they think it is evil. They care about professional advancement and the esteem of their peers. Professional advancement means a job in NY or DC. Esteem means a Pulitzer. Both mean bashing Republicans, conservatives and America.

    There is no escape from liberal-dominated journalism except by burning the profession and the industry to the ground first.

    I’d like to see journalism return to what it was before it was “professionalized” sometime after World War II – i. e. people who wore their political biases on their sleeves openly. That was more honest than the current pose of neutral professional.

    • #17
    • May 14, 2017, at 10:07 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  18. Member

    tigerlily (View Comment):

    genferei (View Comment):
    Journalists don’t care about profit – except in the negative sense that they think it is evil. They care about professional advancement and the esteem of their peers. Professional advancement means a job in NY or DC. Esteem means a Pulitzer. Both mean bashing Republicans, conservatives and America.

    There is no escape from liberal-dominated journalism except by burning the profession and the industry to the ground first.

    I’d like to see journalism return to what it was before it was “professionalized” sometime after World War II – i. e. people who wore their political biases on their sleeves openly. That was more honest than the current pose of neutral professional.

    Journalism was never the same after Woodward & Bernstein. After that, people went into it because they “want to change the world.” Before that, they wanted to report events. Now they create events. And we have several generations who never even knew another way.

    • #18
    • May 14, 2017, at 10:16 AM PDT
    • 4 likes