Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has a simple request for Majority Leader Mitch McConnell: President-elect Donald Trump’s Cabinet nominees must meet the same traditional standards that were demanded of President Barack Obama’s nominees eight years ago. In fact, the request is so similar that Schumer sent the exact same letter McConnell sent to Harry Reid, then the Democratic majority leader of the Senate, and simply swapped out some of the names.
There’s a reason for the snark: Republicans, who control the Senate, are starting to hold nomination hearings before the nominees have completed background checks and ethics clearances that are traditionally required of Cabinet appointees. These were the first two standards that McConnell demanded of Obama’s Cabinet nominees eight years ago — and that the Obama administration met — when Democrats controlled the Senate. Yet Trump’s nominees now seem to be getting a pass on these same standards, even though there are lingering concerns about the Trump administration’s big conflicts of interest around the world.