President Donald Trump's White House team refused to partake in a course that would have provided White House staff, cabinet nominees and other political appointees training on leadership skills, ethics and management, according to documents obtained by Politico.
The documents suggest that the program could have assisted Trump's administration and prepared them for many of the problems they have already begun to face, including working within existing laws and executive orders, how to navigate through Senate confirmation for nominees, how to deal with congressional as well as media scrutiny and how to work with Congress and agencies. But the transition team changed their priorities.
The program was expected to cost around $1 million and was authorized in 2000. Both the Bush administration, and the Obama administration participated.
“It has been determined that the requirements as defined in the RFQ do not accurately reflect the current needs of the Presidential Transition Team,” the GSA contracting officer, Matthew Gormley, said in the Jan. 10 letter.
Vice President Mike Pence took control of the transition from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie after the election. The cancellation notice provided further insight into why the program wasn't utilized.
“As a result of a change in Presidential Transition Team leadership after the Nov. 8, 2016, election, there have been changes in the PTT’s goals for the political appointee orientation program,” it said.
Changes in the transition team consisted of controlling all speakers and content, according to the notice. Whether or not a replacement program was instituted, still remains unknown. According to Politico, appointees at agencies have received almost no training, and that the time between the election and Inauguration Day was "hectic." A lack of trust has also prevented much contact between the appointees at agencies and the longtime civil servants.