100 Days Into Joe Biden's Presidency, Here's How His Cabinet Compares to His Predecessors

In his first 100 days as president, Joe Biden has gotten 28 Senate-confirmed appointees through the door—nearly 1.5 times as many confirmations as former President Trump did in his first 100 days of office.

Comparably, Biden has more confirmations than Trump, who had 19 appointees in 100 days, but still fewer than former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, who had 63 appointees and 32 appointees, respectively.

"I don't really know what explained Obama's success in those first 100 days because in the cases of Trump, Obama and Biden, they all had a Senate majority," Kathryn Dunn Tenpas, senior fellow at the University of Virginia's The Miller Center, told Newsweek.

Having a Senate majority means the president should be able to quickly confirm members of his or her administration because appointees would only need a simple majority vote to be confirmed.

"But Biden is where he should be," Tenpas said.

The president's Cabinet is also shaping up to be the most diverse yet, fulfilling a promise he made on the campaign trail.

The Biden administration currently has the highest percentage of Senate-confirmed women appointees in the first 300 days, although this number may decrease over the next 200 days of Biden's presidency.

Women make up more than 46 percent of Biden's Senate-confirmed appointees. Comparably, both Trump and Bush's administrations were roughly 23 percent female and Obama's administration was roughly 29 percent female.

Biden's administration is also the most racially diverse thus far. While whites made up 78 percent of Bush's administration, 70 percent of Obama's administration and 85 percent of Trump's administration, they account for 64 percent of Biden's staffers.

The president has already appointed more Black and Native American nominees in his first 100 days than Trump did in his first 300 days of office. Of Biden's 27 Senate-confirmed appointees, four are Black, three are Latino, two are Asian and one is Native American.

Joe Biden 100 Days Cabinet
President Joe Biden speaks from the Treaty Room in the White House about the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan on April 14. In his first 100 days in office, 28 of Biden's Cabinet appointees have been confirmed by the Senate. Pool

Biden, like his predecessors, got all 15 of his Cabinet secretaries through in his first 100 days. However, one notable Cabinet-level position that has remained in limbo since the controversial hearing of Neera Tanden is the director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which is not one of the 15 departments.

"OMB is definitely a priority position," Tenpas said. "I think that the Biden team would have preferred that [Tanden] got through. I would say the saving grace for the people who work at OMB is that at least they have a deputy whose gotten confirmed."

"OMB is critically important even though it's not one of the 15 departments," she added. "All the spending decisions go through there."

Tanden faced a tough confirmation process as she was highly criticized by senators on both sides of the aisle for her controversial tweets, which attacked Republicans and progressives, like Senator Bernie Sanders, alike.

After several senators said they would oppose Tanden—signaling there would not been enough votes for a confirmation—the Biden administration withdrew her nomination.

Shalanda Young was confirmed as the deputy director of the OMB in March and is currently serving as the acting director. Biden has not tapped a new nominee, but some speculate that Young will be elevated to the director position.

But even without an official Senate-confirmed appointee to lead the OMB, the agency is still hard at work, Joann Weiner, director of George Washington University's master of applied economics, says.

"The fact that there's no official head doesn't mean that the work is not happening," she told Newsweek. "I don't see, from an economic point of view and from preparing the budget point of view, a problem with not having a director."

Neera Tanden Biden Cabinet 100 Days OMB
Neera Tanden, President Joe Biden's nominee for Director of the Office of Management and Budget, is sworn in to testify during a hearing on Capitol Hill on February 10. Tanden's nomination was withdrawn after a difficult confirmation hearing and lack of support from the Senate. Pool

Aside from Tanden, Tenpas said Biden's picks haven't faced a whole lot of controversy.

"If you think about how much turnover Trump had even in the first month—you already lost a national security adviser and other people, very headline kinds of turnover occurring. If you think comparatively, there has been relatively low drama," Tenpas pointed out.

"There was no huge drama. There was no tweeting about how unfair [Tanden's hearing] was or how she was lousy nominee," she continued. "That's generally how presidents treat staff. They don't want staff to be grabbing headlines or to serve as lightning rods. They would much rather just get these people quietly through the process and get to work and not have a distraction."

And while withdrawals or contentious nominees can be a sign of a president's future relations with the Senate, Tenpas said the 100-day mark is a short yardstick that's not necessarily predictive of the future. In her analysis of this year's Senate hearings, only one nominee was confirmed on a Friday, Lloyd Austin for defense secretary, two days after the inauguration.

Looking at the number of days that the Senate has been in session since January 20, Tenpas said there were only roughly 47 days in which nominees had an opportunity to be confirmed—less than half of the time Biden has held office.

She said the 200-day mark has typically been the most productive for past presidents.

After 200 days, "You can kind of get a sense for where are most of the nominees getting through, which departments tend to have the most Biden people in them," Tenpas said.

"Maybe that reflects some of the priorities of the Biden administration, that they put those people forward because those administrations are the most critical right now—the aftermath of the pandemic and all that stuff," she continued.

Biden Cabinet 100 Days Senate Secretary
President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris meet with Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, chief of staff Ron Klain, right, and other Cabinet members and immigration advisers in the State Dining Room on March 24, in Washington, DC. Biden has gotten more of his nominees confirmed by the Senate than Trump did in his first 100 days of office. Chip Somodevilla/Getty

The current president has confirmed the following number of appointees across the 15 departments in the line of presidential succession (all figures refer to the first 100 days in office):

  • Department of Agriculture: 1 (Trump: 1, Obama: 4, Bush: 2)
  • Department of Commerce: 1 (Trump: 1, Obama: 3, Bush: 1)
  • Department of Defense: 3 (Trump: 1, Obama: 7, Bush: 2)
  • Department of Education: 1 (Trump: 1, Obama: 6, Bush: 2)
  • Department of Energy: 2 (Trump: 1, Obama: 1, Bush: 1)
  • Department of Health and Human Services: 3 (Trump: 2, Obama: 1, Bush: 1)
  • Department of Homeland Security: 2 (Trump: 2, Obama: 2, Bush: N/A as agency did not exist during Bush's first 100 days)
  • Department of Housing and Urban Development: 1 (Trump: 1, Obama: 4, Bush: 1)
  • Department of the Interior: 1 (Trump: 1, Obama: 2, Bush: 1)
  • Department of Justice: 3 (Trump: 1, Obama: 9, Bush: 1)
  • Department of Labor: 1 (Trump: 1, Obama: 3, Bush: 3)
  • Department of State: 4 (Trump: 3, Obama: 10, Bush: 11)
  • Department of Transportation: 2 (Trump: 1, Obama: 6, Bush: 1)
  • Department of the Treasury: 2 (Trump: 1, Obama: 2, Bush: 3)
  • Department of Veteran Affairs: 1 (Trump: 1, Obama: 3, Bush: 2)