On Saturday in President Trump’s weekly address he called out the Senate democrats for “resisting the will of the American voter,” blaming them for slow-walking many of his “three hundred” nominees.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 2, 2018
At present according to the Washington Post appointee tracker, there are one hundred and twenty-seven positions awaiting confirmation, two hundred and two without a nominee, eight that have been returned to the President, four awaiting nomination, and three hundred and thirty that have been confirmed.
The department lacking the most nominees or confirmed positions is the State Department, one such nominee is Susan A. Thornton.
Thornton has been with the State Department since 1991 working the last twenty years on U.S. policy in Eurasia, focused on the countries of the former Soviet Union and East Asia.
Her current role in the State Department is Acting Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs since March 9, 2017.
On December 19th, 2017, Thornton was officially nominated for the post and referred to the Foreign Relations committee.
On January 3rd, 2018, her nomination then went back to the President in order for her to be renominated, per- Senate rules, any nomination that is pending when the Senate adjourns for more than thirty days they are returned to the President, unless the Senate by unanimous consent waives the rule. If a nomination is returned and the President still wants the nominee, he must submit a new nomination to the Senate.
On January 8, 2018, she was once again put up for consideration and referred back to the Foreign Relations committee.
On February 15th, 2018, she attended her confirmation hearing along with, Andrea L. Thompson, nominated for Undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security Affairs, she was confirmed to the post on April 26th, 2018, and Francis R. Fannon, nominate for Assistant Secretary for Energy Resources, he was confirmed on May 24th, 2018.
At the one hour and twenty-eight minute mark of the confirmation video, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) asks, quoting a October 2017, Wall Street Journal article, about the State Department blocking the arrest of a group of agents from China’s Ministry of State Security, who traveled in May of 2017, from China to New York, under transit visas in violation of U.S. laws, in order to approach exiled Chinese billionaire, Guo Wengui who has been critical of the Chinese government.
Thornton answers it was an inter-agency decision not to arrest the Chinese agents, but while she was “aware” of the conversations around her she “did not weigh-in,” on the decision.
On March 15th, 2018, Senator Rubio tweeted
I will do all I can to defeat the current nominee for top #Asia diplomat. This position needs to be held by someone who understands we need to rebalance our relationship with #China, support #Taiwan & defend human rights. https://t.co/9qHwy4CRLk
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) March 15, 2018
From the tweeted article Rubio is quoting as saying, “I am hopeful that once Mike Pompeo is confirmed he will ask the President to nominate someone who understands the long-term threat posed by China.”
On May 30th, ABC news reported it seemed likely that the new Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was expected to withdrawal her nomination.