How Long Do Cabinet Positions Usually Last? Their Confirmations Are Indefinite
Working in the White House is undoubtedly a high-stress job that not everyone is cut out for. This has been made especially clear in recent days, as a very vital position has already been vacated. So how long do Cabinet positions usually last, and is there any sort of "average" tenure?
The current and anticipated members of President Trump's Cabinet were selected for him, by him, to serve throughout the extent of his term. It's then up to the Senate to push many Cabinet members through (or not) after various hearings and votes. It's important to note that, technically, Cabinet members are installed for longer than the next four years, but, seeing as presidents pick their own Cabinets, its customary that current Cabinet members resign on their own after their president's term comes to a close.
A policy clash due to an overlap in presidential terms was recently shown, as President Barack Obama's attorney general "[refused] to enforce a legal order designed to protect the citizens of the United States" regarding Trump's recent executive actions on immigration, as White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer claimed in a news conference on Tuesday. As a result, acting Attorney General Sally Yates was fired by Trump, and has since been replaced.
It should be acknowledged, though, that Trump's confirmed Cabinet differs from his personally-appointed staff. Such is the case with Gen. Michael T. Flynn, who just recently was asked to resign from being National Security Adviser because he "had not told the truth about his interactions with Russia’s ambassador," The New York Times reported. Cabinet rules are, however, relevant to plenty of other controversial choices, like Trump's Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, his Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and his Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin.
Whereas looking to the next period of administrative transition is helpful, Trump's Cabinet isn't even full yet. His senatorial confirmations continue to lag way behind all five of the presidents who worked in the White House before him. Seeing as it's taking so long, it's safe to say that Trump's Cabinet choices may serve for a little shorter of a duration than their predecessors did.
Senate Democrats resisting Trump's Cabinet picks have used their votes as a tool of resistance to the administration as a whole. Though there isn't a Democratic majority that could block any nominee on its own, the platform is instead being used "to make aggressive cases" against controversial choices, Politico reported. Considering the potential length of the gig, its no wonder that the Cabinet confirmations are being taken so seriously; An indefinite, blank check of a career is a high-stakes situation.