Debate Magazine

President Trump Would Purge Federal Government of Obama Appointees

By Eowyn @DrEowyn

Conservatives have been saying for years that after (and if) Obama finally leaves office, the White House needs fumigation, along with the entire federal government.

Indeed, to correct the direction of this country — a direction that is wrong, according to a whopping 72% of Americans in the latest Rasmussen poll — it’s not just elected politicians that must go, the thousands of unelected bureaucrats in the many federal government institutions of the administrative state, e.g., DHS, HUD, HHS, EPA, who form America’s very powerful permanent government — must also be removed.

The Administrative State1

And according to NJ governor Chris Christie, who was among a few considered for Trump’s VP slot, if elected, President Donald Trump would do just that.

Emily Flitter reports for Reuters that on July 20, 2016, Trump ally Chris Christie said that “If he wins the presidency, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump would seek to purge the federal government of officials appointed by Democratic President Barack Obama and could ask Congress to pass legislation making it easier to fire public workers.”

Christie, who is governor of New Jersey and leads Trump’s White House transition team, said the Trump campaign already is drawing up a list of federal government employees to fire if Trump defeats Democratic rival Hillary Clinton in the Nov. 8 presidential election.

“As you know from his other career, Donald likes to fire people,” Christie told a closed-door meeting with dozens of donors at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, according to an audio recording obtained by Reuters and two participants in the meeting.

Christie was referring to Trump’s starring role in the long-running television show The Apprentice, where his catch-phrase was “You’re fired!”

Trump’s transition advisers fear that Obama may convert these appointees to civil servants, who have more job security than officials who have been politically appointed, thereby enabling Obama appointees to keep their jobs in a Republican, administration. Christie explains:

“It’s called burrowing. You take them from the political appointee side into the civil service side, in order to try to set up … roadblocks for your successor, kind of like when all the Clinton people took all the Ws off the keyboard when George Bush was coming into the White House.”

Christie was referring to pranks committed during the presidential transition from Bill Clinton to George W. Bush in 2001. During that period, some White House staffers removed the W key on computer keyboards and left derogatory signs and stickers in offices, according to a report by the General Accounting Office, an investigative arm of Congress. That’s Democrats for ya — childish, petty, malevolent.

Christie said firing civil servants is “cumbersome” and “time-consuming,” and so “One of the things I have suggested to Donald is that we have to immediately ask the Republican Congress to change the civil service laws. Because if they do, it will make it a lot easier to fire those people.”

Christie said that a top priority for Trump is changing the leadership of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to roll back some of the most ambitious federal environmental policies, so as to revive the U.S. oil and coal industries and bolster national security.

Christie also said that Trump wants to let businesspeople serve in government part time without having to give up their jobs in the private sector.

In response, Obama’s White House spokesman Josh Earnest said that allowing appointees to apply for career civil service positions is “a longstanding precedent.”

President Trump would purge federal government of Obama appointees

Mouth of Sauron Joshua Earnest

The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), the largest federal employee union in the United States, said while it was concerned about the practice of “burrowing,” current law protected most federal employees from at will firing. AFGE policy director Jacqueline Simon said, “The federal government is a serious undertaking. It’s not a reality TV show, with ‘You’re fired!’ Just as we don’t want to hire anybody for political reasons, we don’t want anybody to be fired for political reasons.”

AFGE policy director Jacqueline Simon

“We don’t want to hire anybody for political reasons”?

Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha. Are you serious, Simon?

Here’s the extent of the problem:

As of March 2016, there were a total of 3,164 political appointees, 852 of whom were presidential appointees. In its most recent report on the topic, the Government Accountability Office said that in 2010, 143 former political appointees and congressional employees converted to career positions between May 1, 2005, and May 30, 2009.

The Republican-controlled House of Representatives Oversight and Government Reform Committee is investigating the practice of burrowing, and has sent letters to 23 federal departments and agencies, asking them to document all cases of burrowing that have occurred since Sept. 1, 2015.

See also “Six Steps to Reining in the Administrative State“.

~Eowyn


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