Trump could put lives at risk by firing government watchdogs: Conservative columnist
US President Donald Trump is now turning his sights on Europe after having reached a preliminary trade deal with China AFP / JIM WATSON

On Wednesday, writing for the Washington Examiner, conservative columnist Quin Hillyer warned that President Donald Trump's attacks on inspectors general aren't just a threat to the rule of law — they are a threat to health and public safety.

"In the past five days alone, Trump has fired one inspector general, demoted another who was highly regarded, and publicly and rather viciously castigated a third who was reporting on hospital shortages," wrote Hillyer. "Trump has taken these actions without any apparent foundation. Reports Tuesday night say these moves are just the beginning of a planned purge of at least seven inspectors general (a number apparently confirmed unintentionally by Trump himself) with even 'more changes' possible 'later.'"

"Inspectors general are not intended to be and historically have not been treated as political appointees to be replaced by each new president," wrote Hillyer. "They generally serve across administrations of both parties. For example, the inspector general for the Internal Revenue Service, Russell George, has served in that post since 2004. Never before have they been dismissed en masse the way Trump apparently is doing now. Yes, Trump does have that power, but it is a power he is abusing."

"In some senses, colloquially speaking if not in legal terms, what Trump is doing is obstructing justice or at least obstructing oversight that could either expose corruption or highlight waste — or, frighteningly, identify deadly snafus in the delivery systems for lifesaving medicines or other supplies as we deal with the coronavirus pandemic," wrote Hillyer. "Trump’s mistreatment of the inspectors general is unconscionable. Let us pray it isn’t also lethal for large numbers of innocent people."

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