Sara Gonzales Jan 18, 2017 6:12 pm
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) predicted today that Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), who is President-elect Trump’s pick for HHS secretary, will ultimately not be confirmed by the Senate. Schumer felt confident enough in his prediction to make it on video, in comments some considered to be laying down a marker on stopping at least one of Trump’s cabinet nominees from being confirmed.
Although Secretary of State-designate Rex Tillerson has faced the most public uncertainty until recent days, with reports that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee may not report Tillerson’s confirmation favorably to the floor thanks to the possible defection of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Democrats believe they have drawn blood on Price with allegations that he engaged in insider trading, and political favoritism towards a company in which he purchased stock.
Trump’s transition team has engaged in an all out pushback campaign against the allegations, issuing a public demand that CNN retract a story related to the Price controversy, and aggressively peppering media outlets (including TheBlaze) with talking points related to the controversy and even offering potential witnesses to the media for interviews.
The fierce defense of Price, which has been unusually well coordinated and legacy media-centric in comparison with prior Trump communications efforts, reflects a clear desire on Trump’s part to “run the table” in terms of first time successful confirmation of all his initial cabinet appointees. Such a feat is rare in American political history, and would serve as proof that Trump still holds enormous clout in Congress, in spite of the fact that Trump faced an unprecedented lack of solidarity from members of Congress of his own party during the general election.
If Trump can successfully herd his entire field through Senate approval on the first try, in spite of clearly expressed misgivings from several Republicans about some of Trump’s cabinet picks, it will signal to the Democrats with whom Trump is soon expected to begin legislative negotiations that he at least has the GOP in the Senate fully united behind him.