It is getting to the point at which seemingly every high Trump administration official is an “acting” something or other.
Mark Morgan, the acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, recently moved over to become the acting commissioner of Customs and Border Protection. Before that, acting defense secretary Patrick Shanahan resigned and Army Secretary Mark T.?Esper replaced him as acting Pentagon chief, who knows for how long. The Defense Department has lacked a Senate-confirmed leader since the beginning of the year.
President Trump has tapped former Virginia attorney general Ken Cuccinelli to be acting director of Citizenship and Immigration Services. In that role, Mr. Cuccinelli reports to Kevin McAleenan, who is the acting homeland security secretary.
Mick Mulvaney is acting White House chief of staff. The nation’s director of the Office of Management and Budget, the ambassador to the United Nations and the Food and Drug Administration commissioner are all acting.
Part of the problem is incompetence in selecting decent people to serve. Several Senate-confirmed Cabinet officials, such as former Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt, departed in scandal, while the president had to withdraw the names of many flawed nominees who never made it through the Senate.
Amid the Trump administration’s near-daily chaos, the president also discovered advantages in skirting the Senate.
The parade of acting officials leaves major agencies in administrative limbo, unable to move forward on major initiatives and under a cloud of uncertainty about whether their direction might change with little notice.
Whether because of incompetence, calculation or both, this is no way to run a government.
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