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Office that vets Trump appointees faces staff shortage, inexperience: report

Office that vets Trump appointees faces staff shortage, inexperience: report
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A White House office charged with vetting new appointees to the Trump administration suffers from staff shortages and inexperienced personnel, according to a Washington Post report.

An investigation from the newspaper found that the Presidential Personnel Office (PPO) is operating with about 30 staff members, about a third of the numbers utilized by previous administrations.

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In addition, many of those staff members are friends and relatives of top officials, including one case examined by the Post where one senior official had four members of his family receive appointments to the office.

Two other senior staffers currently working at the office include a lance corporal in the Marine Corps Reserves with previous arrests for assault and disorderly conduct, as well as a college dropout with drunk driving arrests.

Most staffers now working in the office are in their mid-20s, the investigation found, and frequently came to the PPO from previous work on the Trump campaign, with little professional experience.

The office is responsible for vetting thousands of political appointees across the Trump administration, which has been beset by staff issues since Trump took office last year. Overall, the office is responsible for about 4,000 jobs, about 1,600 of which require Senate approval.

“No administration has done it as poorly as the current one,” said Partnership for Public Service chief Max Stier, who partnered with the Post on the investigation.

The White House pushed back against the report, blaming Democratic obstruction in the Senate as one reason why so many positions remain unfilled.

“Despite historic obstruction from Democrats in Congress, the Presidential Personnel Office is filling the administration with the best and brightest appointees who share the president’s vision for the country,” said White House principal deputy press secretary Raj Shah.

“Staff work tirelessly and have experience consistent with the practice of previous administrations.”