Brian Klaas writes at USA Today:
The United States government is suffering from a new phenomenon: the Trump Brain Drain. For the first time in memory, the American government is having difficulty recruiting the best and the brightest at the highest levels of power.
Qualified public servants are turning down plum government jobs because they don't want to be exposed to the risks of serving in President Trump's White House. West Wing power-brokers are lawyering up (even Trump’s lawyer has hired a lawyer). A special counsel is reportedly investigating the president himself for possibly obstructing justice.
...Shaun Boburg reports at the Washington Post:
Less than five months into the Trump presidency, there is a record number of vacancies. Of 558 key presidential appointments requiring Senate confirmation, only 43 have been filled (less than 8% of the total). And before you echo the frequently tweeted but incorrect Trump accusation that this is due to Democrat "OBSTRUCTIONISTS”, remember that 405 of the 558 positions don’t even have a nominee yet. This snail’s pace of selecting people — which involves getting them to agree to serve — is unprecedented in modern history.
President Trump’s budget calls for sharply reducing funding for programs that shelter the poor and combat homelessness — with a notable exception: It leaves intact a type of federal housing subsidy that is paid directly to private landlords.
One of those landlords is Trump himself, who earns millions of dollars each year as a part-owner of Starrett City, the nation’s largest subsidized housing complex. Trump’s 4 percent stake in the Brooklyn complex earned him at least $5 million between January of last year and April 15, according to his recent financial disclosure.
HUD, meanwhile, has come under fire in recent days after news of the expected nominee to lead the department in the New York region: Lynne Patton, an event planner who has no professional experience in housing but who is a former vice president of Eric Trump’s foundation and who helped plan his wedding.
[Armstrong] Williams, a conservative commentator, said Patton earned Carson’s trust in just a few months while serving as his $160,000-a-year senior adviser. “She has shown a capacity not only to learn but to regurgitate, to put together tours where she shows she has a knowledge of HUD,” Williams said. “She has done a great job of briefing the secretary.”