Ben Carson is the newest member of Donald Trump’s administration, winning the nomination for secretary of housing and urban development in a partisan Senate vote.
Along with our Cabinet Tracker, we’re automatically keeping score on Trump nominees here, updating as they’re considered and confirmed by the Senate.
Carson's personal story, for the most part, is widely admired. But most Democrats opposed his nomination to head HUD, arguing that his background as a neurosurgeon left him underqualifed to lead the housing agency.
Trump has only two positions left to fill—secretary of agriculture and secretary of labor. But his easy nominations ended long ago. The sole exception might be nominee David Shulkin, who was confirmed as the secretary of veterans affairs in a unanimous vote—but then again, he worked at the V.A. during the Obama administration and was widely expected to be a bipartisan favorite.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, on the other hand, has the dubious honor of winning confirmation by the narrowest margin. The Senate was deadlocked in a tie (after two Republican defections) before Vice President Mike Pence stepped in to cast the deciding vote.
Carson's confirmation wasn't that close—but it still was far more contentious than those of his recent predecessors. Most were confirmed by unanimous consent, or got close to 100 votes; even Julian Castro, Barack Obama’s second-term pick, won a supermajority of the Senate. Carson got just 58 votes.
While many Cabinet nominees have historically been confirmed through unanimous consent, every one of Trump’s picks have faced a roll-call vote. With the exception of his first few nominations—defense, homeland security, ambassador to the UN—most have received far fewer affirmative votes than their predecessors did.
Here’s how Trump’s nominees fared in the Senate, compared to those who came before:
The president has seen wide Democratic opposition to his nominees. A handful of Democratic senators have voted against nearly every one of the president’s nominees, though no one has voted against them all.
Leading that pack is Kirsten Gillibrand, of New York, who has cast only two affirmative votes—one for Nikki Haley, the new ambassador to the United Nations, and another for Shulkin.
On the other end of the spectrum are the Democrats who have remained relatively open to Trump’s appointments. Unsurprisingly, they come from the conservative end of the party, and represent states that have leaned Republican in recent years.
Joe Manchin, of West Virginia, has opposed only three nominees: Price, DeVos, and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. Neither Price nor Devos won a single Democratic vote.
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