The Trump administration will soon be filling thousands of appointments to positions large and small across the federal government: some agencies are household names, others you’ve probably never heard of.
The shift will be dramatic. Everything from federal prosecutors to safety regulators to members of the Railroad Retirement Board. Even a handful of blind private citizens will be appointed by Trump to help decide which blind-manufactured products the federal government buys.
To help illuminate the sheer scope of a president’s stamp on the federal workforce, we took more than 1,700 positions that are directly classified as “Presidential Appointments” in the government’s bible of transition jobs, the Plum Book. That includes about 1,200 jobs that require Senate confirmation, and roughly 500 that don’t.
The above result is an early-stage visualization for you to explore. (Over the coming weeks, we plan to build out much more sophisticated interactives to help you understand who is appointed within the new administration.)
For now, you’ll see a series of circles above, each sized based on the number of appointed jobs. The outermost circles are the agencies themselves, within them are the specific offices. Hover over or touch each circle for details, and click on one to zoom in.
There actually are even more jobs beyond the higher-level ones represented above. That includes most notably what are known as “Schedule C” appointments – more than 1,500 people at mid-level positions who range from policy experts to special advisers to schedulers. Those people are generally chosen by Trump’s direct presidential appointees.
Additionally, there’s a federal job category known as the Senior Executive Service, which consists of thousands of upper-level managers. Most are career civil servants, but the president gets to appoint up to 10 percent of those slots as well.
Influence at agencies large and small
Of the 1,700 people represented here, the departments of Justice and State outweigh other agencies in terms of Senate-confirmed slots Trump will fill. That’s largely because at DOJ – 223 positions – presidents get to choose every US attorney nationwide, along with the head of each office for the US Marshals. At State – 269 positions – the list includes all of the US ambassadors posted around the world.
Other agencies with double-digit numbers of appointments include large departments such as Treasury, Commerce, Energy and Transportation.
But is also includes ones you may not have thought much about: roughly two dozen jobs at the National Endowment for the Humanities, about a dozen at both the US Postal Service and the American Battle Monuments Commission, as well as eight of nine board members of the Broadcasting Board of Governors.
Safety regulation is one area where Trump appointees could potentially shift policy once five to ten top spots each are filled at places like the National Transportation Safety Board, Consumer Product Safety Commission, Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board, Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Workplace issues that affect millions of Americans could also see potential changes, depending on who Trump decides to appoint to agencies like the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, National Labor Relations Board or National Council on Disability.
Then there are more obscure agencies with specific, but influential regional missions: the Farm Credit Administration. The Great Lakes Fishery Commission. The Appalachian Regional Commission. The Marine Mammal Commission.
No Senate approval needed
When it comes to who doesn’t need Senate confirmation, it’s not surprising the highest concentration is within the White House itself. Trump gets to appoint 129 individuals on his own to the Executive Office of the President, while only 22 require Senate approval.
There are other federal entities which also are overwhelmingly appointed without Senate approval.
All but one appointment to the Securities and Exchange commission are done without confirmation (though no more than three commissioners can be from the same party), as are all but one appointee at the Library of Congress.
Other agencies that primarily have appointments without Senate approval include the Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board, the Commission on Civil Rights, the Arctic Research Commission, and the Committee for Purchase from People who are Blind or Severely Disabled. (Some of those positions have terms that expire in a staggered fashion over the next couple of years.)
He will also appoint several dozen members of the US Holocaust Memorial Council when their five-year terms come open again. Just days before he left office, President Obama appointed ten of his own staffers to open spots on the council, so Trump will not get to fill those positions.
Potential flashpoint positions
For a campaign that at times expressed skepticism of government-generated statistics, as president Trump will appoint the commissioner of statistics at both the Labor and Education departments.
He can also name the director of the Bureau of Justice Statistics at DOJ, which does not require Senate confirmation.
A professed skeptic of climate change, Trump will also have the power to appoint positions like the State Department’s special envoy for climate change, as well as that person’s deputy.
Other climate-related roles within the president’s Executive Office include the Special Assistant for Climate Preparedness and Deputy Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change.
For refugees, Trump has one Senate-confirmed position, the State Department’s Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration.
There are other refugee appointments that fall under the broader categories of noncareer appointees not shown above, such as at the Department of Health and Human Services, where he’ll name the both director and deputy director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement.
Stay tuned. More to come in the weeks ahead.