According to a report from the New York Times, longtime government employees who landed their jobs because of their Republican bonafides are now coming to work each day with the threat of dismissal hanging over their heads if it is believed they are are not totally on board with Donald Trump policies.
Following a report that Johnny McEntee, a 29-year-old loyalist just installed to take over the Office of Presidential Personnel, is instructing “departments to search for people not devoted to the president so they can be removed,” the Times notes that just because a staffer is a Republican in good standing doesn’t mean that won’t be booted.
“In some of the most critical corners of the Trump administration, officials show up for work now never entirely sure who will be there by the end of the evening — themselves included,” The report begins. “Even for an administration that has been a revolving door since Day 1, this has become a season of turmoil. At a moment when first-term presidents are typically seeking a stable team to focus on their re-election, President Trump has embarked on a systematic attempt to sweep out officials perceived to be disloyal.”
Among those who could be swept up on the purge and have their careers derailed could be former Republican appointees.
“Career professionals are not the only ones in the cross hairs. Also facing scrutiny are Republican political appointees considered insufficiently committed to the president or suspected of not aggressively advancing his agenda,” the Times reports while also noting that Trump administration allies say there is nothing wrong with making personnel changes “even if it amounts to shedding people who are not seen as loyal to Mr. Trump.”
“Mr. Trump has long been obsessed with loyalty, a view only exacerbated by his impeachment and the various investigations over the last three years that have convinced him that he is surrounded by a deep-state enemy within that is leaking, lying and sabotaging his presidency,” the report states. “With a more loyal team in place, he hopes to make more progress on initiatives that have been slow-walked by institutional inertia or resistance like tougher rules on trade and immigration. But it could mean less dissent and less open debate with surviving officials fearing the loss of their jobs if they are seen as stepping out of line.”
The government employees shouldn’t be surprised at the possibility of being moved out of their jobs, with the Times noting that direct appointees of the president have turned over at a record rate.
“From the beginning, his administration has been a turnstile of people who fall in and out of favor with the president. Including those with ‘acting’ designations, he is on his third chief of staff, his fourth national security adviser, his fourth defense secretary, his fifth secretary of homeland security, his sixth deputy national security adviser and his seventh communications director,” the Times reports.
“According to data compiled by Kathryn Dunn Tenpas, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, turnover among what she calls Mr. Trump’s ‘A team,’ meaning his senior staff, has hit 82 percent, more in three years than any of the previous five presidents saw in their first four years,” Moreover, the Trump administration has been notable for a high level of serial turnover, with 38 percent of the top positions replaced more than once.”
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