Dem Rep. Hits Trump for Vetting Failures and Reliance on Acting Cabinet: ‘We Need Adults in the Room’


Congressman Dan Kildee (D-MI) sharply criticized President Donald Trump in an appearance on CNN’s The Situation Room, warning host Wolf Blitzer that the White House’s ongoing reliance on “acting” officials to fill key cabinet positions posed serious risks to national security and government accountability.

“This is certainly not the A-team on the field,” Kildee said in response to news that acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan was withdrawing his nomination to take on the role permanently after reports surfaced of alleged domestic abuse within his family. “I think the larger problem is that we have an acting government. We’ve had for six months an acting Secretary of Defense, we have an acting secretary of Homeland security, we have an acting White House Chief of Staff, at a time when we face fairly significant threats.”

The Trump administration currently has an unprecedented number of officials who are filling their roles without having been confirmed by the Senate. In addition to the aforementioned Defense, DHS, and White House Chief of Staff jobs, the Trump administration also has acting heads at the SBA, FEMA, ICE, USCIS, FAA, and as the Ambassador to the United Nations.

“We need adults in the room. We need professionals with experience,” Kildee continued. “At a time when we need a steady hand, with experience, that understands this threat, but also understands the array of responses that we need to have at our availability to deal with a belligerent Iran, we have people who are essentially not ready for prime time. And especially… to think Mr. Bolton is now in the principal position of whispering in the president’s ear his policy choices with no experienced leadership at the Defense Department. It’s pretty frightening.”

In a tweet announcing that Shanahan was withdrawing his nomination, Trump also selected current Secretary of the Army Mark Esper to become the new, acting Defense Secretary. Esper is a former Army infantry officer who spent time as a Defense Department official in the first Bush administration before working for most of the past decade as a defense lobbyist. Esper was Trump’s third nominee as Army Secretary, after the president’s first two choices withdrew after embarrassing or disqualifying details came to light about their personal lives.

Watch the video above, via CNN.

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