President Donald Trump on Sunday blamed Senate Democrats for the dearth of experts at the State Department, ignoring the department’s high turnover and the number of positions for which there is no nominee.
“The Democrats continue to Obstruct the confirmation of hundreds of good and talented people who are needed to run our government … A record in U.S. history. State Department, Ambassadors and many others are being slow walked. Senate must approve NOW,” Trump wrote on Twitter.
The lack of experts at the State Department is receiving renewed attention after the announcement that Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un may meet for a possible historic summit. Their talks, which would be the first time in history a sitting U.S. president met with the country’s leader, could even include discussion of denuclearizing the Korean peninsula, potentially accomplishing a long-held goal of getting North Korea to give up its nation’s prized weapons program.
Despite the March 8 announcement of the possible talks, the U.S. currently does not have people in a number of key roles. Trump has not named an ambassador to South Korea and the U.S. special envoy to North Korea resigned late last month. Along with the South Korea opening, Trump has yet to name an ambassador to the European Union. The president is correct in claiming that some of ambassador picks have been held up, including Richard Grenell, a former spokesman for the U.S. mission to the United Nations under President George W. Bush, who he tapped to be U.S. ambassador to Germany.
POLITICO has previously reported that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is hollowing out the State Department by leaving other top positions unfilled amid a wave of retirements, although the secretary has scaled back those efforts.
Later on Sunday, Trump blamed the media for downplaying his approval ratings.
“Rasmussen and others have my approval ratings at around 50%, which is higher than Obama, and yet the political pundits love saying my approval ratings are “somewhat low.” They know they are lying when they say it. Turn off the show – FAKE NEWS!,” he wrote on Twitter, although the most recent edition of Rasmussen’s daily tracking poll pegged Trump’s approval rating at 44 percent of likely voters.
The Real Clear Politics polling average has the president’s approval rating at just shy of 41 percent. Some polling experts have claimed that the method of the poll has an effect on the outcome, but that opinion is not universal.