January 19, 2017
Incoming White House press secretary Sean Spicer railed against Senate Democrats for delaying approval of Cabinet members, likely leaving President-elect Donald Trump with fewer confirmed department heads on his first day than any of the last three presidents.
“There is really no excuse for the delay tactics and, frankly, the partisanship that is being exhibited by the Democrats,” Spicer said at a press conference in Washington.
“There is a time and a place for it. I get it,” he said. “But I think if you hold them to the standard they were held to [for President Obama’s nominees in 2009], you recognize the fact that they are continuing to employ delay tactics after delay tactics, which isn’t good for the government.”
The moves to hold up the confirmation process, he said, was raising questions around the world about the continuity of government in the U.S.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who has vowed to slow down the confirmation process, said Republicans were trying to push the nominees through too quickly, denying Democrats adequate time to question them and failing to provide necessary paperwork.
Schumer also said Trump’s picks deserve extra scrutiny — if not flat out opposition — simply because they happen to be rich.
Spicer said that Senate Democrats had expanded their “hit list” of nominees targeted for delay or defeat, which originally included eight nominees, to include virtually all of the 21 Cabinet-level appointments.
“If you look at the questions that are being asked in these confirmation hearing, it’s not about substance, it’s not about policy, it’s not about the issues in front of the department — it’s about partisan attacks and ethical questions,” he said.
“These people have their paperwork in. Their quality and caliber and integrity is unquestionable. And I think to see some of these attacks and the focus not be on issues like schools and teachers and homeland security is a problem,” he said. “There are so many issues facing this country that we need to get moving on. The idea that Democrats are using these stall tactics — it’s not in the country’s best interest.”