Everyone wants President Donald Trump to “get tough.” Tough with special counsel Robert Mueller. Tough with North Korea. Tough with Russia, and Syria, and trading partners around the globe. Even tough with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
On any given day, as the mood may move him, Trump does exactly that, whether on Twitter, or via an outside advocate, or on TV. But here is someone Trump absolutely needs to get tough with and not just on Twitter: Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). Why?
Trump’s presidency depends on how tough and successful he is against Schumer.
Today, almost 300 presidential nominees remain unconfirmed. Many are holdovers from 2017 and have been re-nominated after prior confirmation votes out of Senate committees. The media in general confirms this may well be the highest number of vacancies across a U.S. administration. Senior management positions—deputy secretaries, undersecretaries, deputy undersecretaries—remain unfilled in virtually every crucial cabinet department, with the Departments of State, Defense, Justice, Education, Health and Human Services being the most prominent.
And holding down the forts? Obama-era careerists or less experienced political appointees who have no business managing offices. The vast majority of these appointees are awaiting full Senate confirmation votes. While some are being held up by Republican Senators with some minor axe to grind against the president or the department to which these nominees would go, or perhaps even hold some grudge against the nominees themselves, the vast majority are being held up by Schumer. Why? Because he can—and because Democrats believe there is a pound of flesh to be collected from a president they dislike and who is in dire need of all hands on deck as he enters a crucial period in his administration.