US President-elect Donald Trump has reportedly asked about 50 Obama appointees to stay in their posts temporarily after his inauguration to make sure there is continuity in his government, Incoming White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said on Thursday, (19 January)
Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work and Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Thomas Shannon will serve as acting chiefs of their agencies until their successors are confirmed by the Senate, Spicer added.
Brett McGurk, the special envoy in the fight against Islamic State group, Adam Szubin, top official at Treasury for Terrorism and financial intelligence, Nicholas Rasmussen, the National Counter terrorism Center director are also among the ones who will be retained.
However, Work's service might be short as he would act as the chief of the Defense Department for only a matter of hours after Trump is inaugurated on 20 January. General James Mattis, who is Secretary of Defense nominee, is expected to be confirmed shortly after Trump's swearing-in.
Shannon would serve as the head of State Department until Rex Tillerson or another successor is confirmed.
Spicer said that Chuck Rosenberg, the Drug Enforcement Agency administrator, and Susan Coppedge, the State Department's ambassador-at-large to combat human trafficking will be asked to remain in their posts.
Dr. Francis Collins, The National Institutes of Health said its director was asked to stay temporarily as well. A full list of Obama appointees asked to remain on was not immediately available.
The announcement by the Trump team comes after several questions were raised about how the team was handling the transition. According to Partnership for Public service, only 29 of the 660 Executive branch appointments have been made, New York Times reported.
When Obama assumed office in 2009, at least seven of his nominees were confirmed by the Senate on the day of his swearing-in.