President Donald Trump has yet to nominate the State Department official who oversees diplomatic security abroad -- despite having made the 2012 Benghazi attacks a centerpiece of his campaign against Hillary Clinton.Congressional Democrats say it's a striking omission that shows Trump's campaign rhetoric was just that. And even some Republicans are urging Trump to move faster to fill this and other key State Department posts.
Donald Trump's lax approach to filling key posts throughout his administration is becoming one of the president's more glaring missteps. As of yesterday, of the 544 top positions requiring Senate confirmation, the White House hasn't nominated anyone for 473 of those offices.As Politico reported, that includes the office responsible for diplomatic security abroad.
Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) argued that Trump's "failure to nominate an assistant secretary of state for diplomatic security shows the Republican focus on Benghazi was 'a bunch of political cheap talk' designed to tarnish [Hillary] Clinton's reputation."
Stepping back, there are a couple of relevant angles to keep in mind with a story like this, beyond the brazenness surrounding the Republicans' obsession with Benghazi conspiracy theories. The first is that Trump's incoherence on his administration's staffing problems is getting worse, not better. Just last week, the president insisted he's "waiting right now for so many people" to get confirmed by the Senate, but Democratic "obstructionists" are blocking his nominees.This State Department office on diplomatic security is a great example of how wrong Trump is: there is no nominee. Senate Democrats aren't to blame.The other thing to keep in mind is the degree to which this is emblematic of the White House's indifference towards the State Department.Indeed, Eliot Engel told Politico, "Unfortunately, I think it's indicative of the low priority that Trump and the administration are placing on diplomacy or anything to do with the State Department."There are 119 positions in the State Department requiring Senate confirmation. Trump hasn't yet nominated anyone for 108 of them.