Tom Marino’s decision to withdraw as the nominee for the Trump administration’s drug czar nominee didn’t come as a tremendous surprise, but it did underscore a growing issue in the Trump White House: Finding people for critical jobs is taking longer than anyone expected.
Marino took his name out of consideration Tuesday, after reports from The Washington Post and CBS’ 60 Minutes revealed he had championed a law that hobbled federal efforts to combat the abuse of opioids. He is at least the 10th Trump nominee to recuse themself from a position within the administration.
Other withdrawn nominees include both Mark Green and Vincent Viola for Army Secretary, Andrew Puzder for Secretary of Labor and Jim Clinger, who was asked to chair the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC).
That’s becoming a notable problem for Trump, whose administration has struggled to find its footing since taking office. The Cabinet position of Health and Human Services Secretary is still unfilled. And there’s no one in the homeland security secretary’s office, though Kirstjen Nielsen has been nominated for the role.
There are roughly 600 key government positions that require Senate confirmation. The Partnership for Public Service says Trump has only filled roughly one-quarter of them. Over half of the State Department positions requiring Senate confirmation currently lack a nominee, including the ambassador to South Korea and the assistant secretary for East Asian and Pacific affairs.
And with nominees regularly withdrawing, it could take even longer to fill those slots—or at least the ones the president chooses to fill. (Trump has said he wants to create efficiency by leaving some positions without nominees.)
Trump isn’t the only president to have nominees opt out, of course. But after just 10 months in office, the number of nominees who have withdrawn their names in the Trump administration is fast approaching the number who withdrew during President Obama’s eight-year tenure.
Obama, certainly, had his own struggles with nominees. National Intelligence Council chairman Charles Freeman was forced to bow out in 2009. Bill Richardson withdrew from his nomination as Commerce Secretary. And Sen. Tom Daschle was forced to withdraw from consideration as Health and Human Services secretary.
Withdrawing one’s name from an administration is done voluntarily. But it’s frequently done under the shadow of controversy, as Marino discovered.
Here’s a look at notable withdrawals to date during Trump’s time in the White House.
Nominated for: Drug czar
Withdrew because: Reports indicated he had attempted to impede federal efforts to combat opioid abuse.
Nominated for: Labor Secretary
Withdrew because: Decades-old abuse allegations dogged Puzder, as did his employment of an undocumented immigrant to clean his home.
Nominated for: Secretary of the U.S. Army
Withdrew because: The Wall Street billionaire had concerns about the complicated task of divesting from his many business interests, which include the Florida Panthers hockey team and trading firmVirtu Financial.
Nominated for: Navy Secretary
Withdrew because: Privacy concerns and issues separating himself from his business interests.
Nominated for: Army Secretary
Withdrew because: Comments he made in the past about Islam and other issues stirred controversy.
Nominated for: Chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.
Withdrew because: Family issues
Daniel A. Craig
Nominated for: Deputy secretary the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
Withdrew because: Probes into his work and travel records in the Bush administration proved too distracting.
Nominated for: Head of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM)
Withdrew because: Criticisms from federal labor unions proved overwhelming.
Nominated for: Deputy Commerce Secretary
Withdrew because: The Cubs board member withdrew when unraveling his finances proved too complicated.
Brian P Burns
Nominated for: U.S. Ambassador to Ireland
Withdrew because: Health concerns