White House loyalty test leaving cabinet agencies unstaffed — and Trump’s secretaries are furious
The White House is frustrating cabinet secretaries by rejecting staffer candidates suspected of possible disloyalty to President Donald Trump.
The Office of Personnel Management won’t approve the hiring of Hillary Clinton supporters, “Never Trump” conservatives or anyone whose politics lean left even for low-level positions, reported Axios.
At least one cabinet official, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, has complained directly to the president about the hiring process and demanded the approval of his proposed staff.
According to a source, Trump told Zinke his staffers would be approved “as long as they’re our people,” and the source added similar conversations have taken place with other cabinet secretaries.
Bloomberg has reported on Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin’s difficulties in staffing his agency, which he reportedly blames on Trump’s aides.
Mnuchin’s pick for his agency’s top lawyer, Brent McIntosh, was reportedly flagged by the personnel office because he shared news articles critical of Trump on his Twitter account.
“These secretaries have these egos that this is their little kingdom now, and it’s their way or the highway, so it’s been creating a logjam,” another source told Axios.
The halt comes as many career employees are leaving their jobs in the executive branch, and morale in many departments has plummeted in a climate of mistrust.
That logjam keeps the government from functioning properly, and Trump has suggested many of those jobs will never be filled.
“A lot of those jobs, I don’t want to appoint, because they’re unnecessary to have,” Trump told Fox News. “You know, we have so many people in government, even me. I look at some of the jobs and it’s people over people over people. I say, ‘What do all these people do?’ You don’t need all those jobs.”
Steve Bannon, the chief White House strategist, said during last month’s Conservative Political Action Conference that Trump’s chose his cabinet secretaries to weaken the government’s regulatory agencies.
“The way the progressive left runs, is if they can’t get it passed, they’re just going to put in some sort of regulation in an agency,” Bannon said. “That’s all going to be deconstructed and I think that’s why this regulatory thing is so important.”