Monday, January 16, 2017

Vilsack resigns USDA, putting fresh spotlight on Trump's only remaining Cabinet vacancy

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is without a permanent boss or a designated replacement for the new administration that will begin Friday.

President-elect Donald Trump has picked all his Cabinet secretaries except the one for agriculture, a job that Democrat Tom Vilsack resigned Friday. Vilsack's email to employees "did not say why he was leaving early," The Associated Press reports. "He has said he wants to remain involved with agriculture after leaving government, but has not detailed those plans."

Michael Scuse, undersecretary for farm and foreign agricultural services, is acting secretary, but with no permanent successor named, "Some in farm country are worried that agriculture may be a low priority for the new administration," though "Rural voters were key to delivering him the presidency," AP reports.

Vilsack, noting he was confirmed on Obama's first day in office, said his successor "will be at a tremendous disadvantage, in terms of getting up to speed on all this department does."  White House Press Secretary-designate Sean Spicer told reporters Friday that Trump had given the USDA job the same attention as other Cabinet jobs and would make a decision in the near future.

AP reports, "Trump and his team have interviewed several candidates, including former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue and former California Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado. They have also talked to potential candidates from Texas and Indiana, home state of Vice President-elect Mike Pence. Ted McKinney, director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, was at Trump Tower on Thursday."

1 comment:

RL Webb said...

Sonny Perdue is in as USDA Secretary. Vilsack has taken a job with the Dairy Export Council. His first initiative will probably be MILKLESS MONDAY, he is a supporter of the anti animal use/ownership entity of HSUS. Where was the due diligence on that one?