New York: Facing a week of high-profile tests for his administration-in-waiting, President-elect Donald Trump has predicted that all of his Cabinet picks would win Senate confirmation even as Democrats charged that Trump’s team was ignoring standard vetting protocol.
“I think they’ll all pass,” Trump said of his would-be Cabinet, describing them as “all at the highest level” in between private meetings in his Manhattan sky rise.
Trump’s confidence comes as lawmakers in both parties eagerly await the submission of background material from Cabinet picks, including billionaires whose extensive personal financial dealings have never faced public scrutiny.
Senate Democrats urged GOP leaders to slow their aggressive hearing schedule, which includes Trump’s picks for the nation’s top diplomat, lead law enforcement officer and head of homeland security, among others.
“Bear in mind President-elect Trump’s nominees pose particularly difficult ethics and conflict-of-interest challenges,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York said. “They come from enormous wealth, many have vast holdings and stocks, and very few have experience in government.”
One wealthy Trump pick official who won’t require Senate confirmation: son-in-law Jared Kushner, who transition officials confirmed Monday would serve as a senior adviser in the new administration.
Kushner, a New York real estate executive, is expected to exert broad sway over both domestic and foreign policy, particularly Middle East issues and trade negotiations.
While not subject to Senate approval, White House staff must publicly disclose personal financial information.
Addressing the Cabinet selections, Trump’s incoming press secretary Sean Spicer insisted Monday, “Everyone who has a hearing this week has their paperwork in.”
It’s unclear, however, whether each had submitted the extensive list of requirements that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell requested of President Barack Obama’s nominees eight years ago.
Those include an FBI background check, detailed questionnaires and financial disclosure statements that include tax returns, according to a 2009 letter from McConnell that Schumer read Monday on the Senate floor.