On Friday, writing for The Bulwark, University of Illinois professor emeritus Frederick Hoxie and former federal prosecutor Dennis Aftergut warned that a second term for former President Donald Trump would be far worse.
In particular, they wrote, Trump's plan to purge the civil service and replace federal officials from top to bottom with carefully vetted "spineless sycophants" to Trump's agenda raises serious alarm bells.
"Donald Trump came into office in 2017 already possessing many of the instincts and inclinations of a mob boss — and he left office having learned a basic mob boss’s lesson, after a handful of individuals more loyal to the country than to him hindered his willful rule," wrote Hoxie and Aftergut. "Now, as Trump and his acolytes plot a return to power, they intend to make sure that if he’s re-elected, he won’t have to put up with anything less than total loyalty."
"Imagine his next cabinet. There won’t be the likes of Rex Tillerson, John Kelly, James Mattis, or H.R. McMaster hanging around—no one with a spine, let alone a conscience," they wrote. "Former Trump trade advisor Peter Navarro, currently under indictment for contempt of Congress after he defied a Jan. 6th Committee subpoena, has offered some names for Trump Team 2.0. They include the bombastic Fox News host Jeanine Pirro as attorney general and Kash Patel, the sycophantic and ambitious former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes who was briefly the chief of staff to the acting secretary of defense, as the director of national intelligence."
The way he will do this, they wrote, is through a little-known executive order Trump signed near the end of his term, that reclassified tens of thousands of merit-based civil service workers as "schedule F" and therefore exempt from over a century of ethics reforms. President Joe Biden rescinded this — but if Trump is re-elected, it could be easily restored.
"Schedule F would effectively eradicate a century and a half of civil service reforms," wrote Hoxie and Aftergut. "After President James Garfield was shot to death in 1881 by a disgruntled assassin who believed he was owed a patronage job, national outrage overcame decades of resistance to civil service reform from machine politicians and party hacks. Fifteen months later, the Pendleton Act became law, putting an end to the notion that 'to the victors go the spoils.' With Trump’s re-issuance of the Schedule F executive order, our national government would start to resemble Tammany Hall —a corrupt political machine. Mike Lindell might end up determining how federal health and safety regulations apply to the pillow business.
You can read more here.