President-elect Donald Trump's nominees are headed for grueling confirmation hearings, particularly Rex Tillerson, but the Senate rarely rejects presidential Cabinet picks, The Washington Times reported.
Throughout U.S. history, only nine Cabinet nominees have been rejected in committee or Senate votes, according to the Times, which notes 12 others have been withdrawn due to strong opposition.
The newspaper said the last rejected nominee was in 1989 when former Sen. John Tower, President George H.W. Bush's pick for defense secretary, lost out. Tower went down in a party-line vote in the Senate, which was then controlled by Democrats, per The Times.
And before Tower, the last nominee to be rejected was Lewis L. Strauss, Dwight Eisenhower's pick to lead the Commerce Department in 1959. The Times noted it was a Democratic majority in the Senate which denied Eisenhower's selection. And the last nominee to withdraw was former Sen. Tom Daschle, President Barack Obama's choice for Health and Human Services Secretary. Questions had been raised about his tax returns and his work as a lobbyist.
The newspaper reported nearly all of Trump's nominees have been met with objections from Senate Democrats. And Tillerson's nomination has sparked some concerns from both Democrats and Republicans for his close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
But according to the newspaper, senators have always prided themselves on showing deference to presidents in filling Cabinet jobs.
"It's true in the past that the Senate has struggled to make sure that the president gets the people he asks for to serve in his Cabinet," Jim Manley, a former top aide to outgoing Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid, said.
"What I don't know is whether 'that was then and this is now,' because the norms have changed so much," he added.
And USA Today reported Trump can only afford to lose the support of two Republican senators for any confirmation votes — provided the Democrats all vote together.
According to The Times, every president since 1989 has lost at least one Cabinet nominee. Most withdrew amid criticism and only one — Tower — was voted down.
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