President Donald Trump's plodding pace at nominating U.S. attorneys contradicts the law-and-order focus of his campaign. Senate-confirmed appointees, not interim heads, are needed in Florida and elsewhere to lead these offices.
Trump finally nominated eight lawyers Monday to serve as U.S. attorneys in five states and the District of Columbia, but dozens of openings remain — including all three in Florida. U.S. attorneys are central to the justice system, leading prosecutions against criminals of the most serious offenses and making routine critical decisions on charges and plea bargains. When the White House switches political parties, federal prosecutors typically leave to make way for the new administration's people and agenda. Attorney General Jeff Sessions requested 46 U.S. attorneys immediately resign on March 10 after the others had resigned. Previous administrations prudently asked incumbents to continue until a replacement was named. Yet the Trump administration demanded immediate resignations without a single nomination ready, opening unnecessary vacancies and interfering with meaningful, ongoing work.
Florida and the rest of the nation deserve better. Trump often talks and tweets about law and order. He needs to back up the rhetoric by moving faster to nominate U.S. attorneys who can turn those declarations into action.