Since taking office, Trump has appointed a number of friends to government jobs. Those appointments have involved some stratospheric leaps in skill sets (from party planner to regional head of a federal agency, for example), some serious cash and — what the president reportedly prizes above all — many years of loyalty. And similar Trump appointments are on the way: Guess what government job he wants to give his private pilot?
All presidents have relied on their networks and rewarded donors with gigs in and connected to the administration. But although some of Trump’s appointments are quirky but sensible — longtime friend Linda McMahon was the CEO of the World Wrestling Federation, but she did build a small business, theoretically qualifying her for the Small Business Administration — some of his gigs have gone to candidates with no discernible relevant experience. Lynne Patton was Eric Trump’s wedding planner; Trump named her to a management role at the agency for Housing and Urban Development. Family connections have given some an entry point: Kyle Yunaska, Eric Trump’s brother-in-law, is now a chief of staff at the Department of Energy, despite having no experience in energy.
Appointments like those have driven critics to scoff at Trump’s promise during the campaign that he would hire “the best people.” Combine that with the constant charges of nepotism that surround daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner’s advisory roles, and some question whether Trump has the personnel skills crucial for a president.
Some might consider the fact that he’s hiring anyone a bright spot. In late January, the Washington Post that more than hundreds of crucial government jobs sit empty. Glaringly, there was no ambassador to South Korea during the Winter Olympics, hosted in that country, and Trump’s surprise agreement to a sit-down with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un that immediately followed. Overall, the Post found that 221 of 385 key Cabinet-appointed positions have not been filled.