The war on the Deep State could mean an army of suck-ups

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Trump seeks to sweep away civil service protections that have been in place for more than 140 years.
And I will wield that power very aggressively.” That executive order reclassified many civil service workers, whose jobs are nonpartisan and protected, as political appointees who could be fired at will.
‘An army of suck-ups’ “It’s a real threat to democracy,” Donald Moynihan, a professor of public policy at Georgetown University, told CNN.
Vought focused on a plan he drafted to reissue Trump’s 2020 executive order, known as Schedule F. It would reclassify as political appointees any federal workers deemed to have influence on policy.
Reissuing Schedule F is part of a roadmap, known as Project 2025, drafted for a second Trump term by scores of conservative groups and published by the Heritage Foundation.
But hiring people based on personal political loyalties would produce “an army of suck-ups,” he said.
The new rules would not fully block reclassifying workers in a second Trump term.
Greene said she worries for federal workers who might face the same choice in a second Trump term.


During his campaign rallies, former President Donald Trump incites his supporters to erupt into cheers by promising to “demolish the deep state” if granted another term in office. “.

It is essentially a vow to wage war on the federal government, changing its size and reach and subjecting it to the whims and worldview of the president.

Trump appears set to expand on failed executive orders—or those he was prevented from enforcing the first time around—in a second term, based on remarks made by the outgoing president, policy blueprints presented by senior officials in his first administration, and interviews with supporters.

The protections afforded to civil servants for over 140 years are targets for removal by Trump. “Every executive branch employee fireable by the president of the United States,” he has declared, would become a reality. Trump claims he would “drain the swamp” and shift up to 100,000 jobs out of Washington, DC, despite the fact that more than 85% of federal employees currently work outside of the city. Under his plans, entire departments would be abolished or dismantled.

A careful examination of his previous, ineffective attempts demonstrates how Trump’s policies could severely weaken significant portions of the federal government in a future term.

Though Trump’s supporters applaud his plans, policy experts caution that they would politicize and deplete the federal workforce, drive out many of the most seasoned and knowledgeable workers, and create an environment that would be more susceptible to corruption and a political patronage system.

Consider this quote from Trump’s 2020 campaign website: “I will reissue my executive order immediately, restoring the president’s authority to remove rogue bureaucrats.”. And I’ll use that authority with great aggression. “.

Many civil servants, whose positions are nonpartisan and protected, were reclassified by that executive order as political appointees, subject to arbitrary termination. Over forty-six officials—some of whom had worked for Trump—disapproved of the order at the time, representing ten Republican and Democratic presidential administrations. They issued a combined letter threatening to “cause long-term damage to one of the key institutions of our government.”. “.

Trump issued the order in the last few months of his administration, and President Joe Biden immediately revoked it after taking office, so in the end, it had little effect.

However, policy experts caution that a large number of federal employees may be fired if they put their allegiance to Trump before the needs of the public, should Trump follow through on his promise to convert thousands of civil service positions into politically appointed posts at the beginning of a second term.

“A horde of douchebags”.

Donald Moynihan, a Georgetown University public policy professor, told CNN that “it’s a real threat to democracy.”. As it jeopardizes their fundamental rights, this is something that all citizens should be acutely aware of and concerned about. “.

It would be “absolutely the biggest change in the American public sector” since the creation of a merit-based civil service in 1883, according to Moynihan, if a large number of jobs were subject to appointment based on political affiliation.

In a video that was made last year for the Heritage Foundation, one of the planners of that second term plan for Trump stated as much. Russ Vought, the former director of Trump’s Office of Management and Budget, predicted a revolutionary outcome. CNN asked him to an interview, but he declined. However, he went into great detail regarding the strategy to dismantle “the woke and the weaponized bureaucracy” in the video. Vought talked about breaking up or reorganizing the FBI, the Department of Justice, and the Environmental Protection Agency, to name a few.

Vought concentrated on the Schedule F plan he drafted to rescind Trump’s 2020 executive order. Anything that would reclassify federal employees who are thought to have policy influence as political appointees. The Heritage Foundation published a roadmap called Project 2025, which includes the rescinding of Schedule F. The plan was created by numerous conservative organizations in preparation for a second term of Trump.

According to Vought, there is a need for the civil service reform because the federal government “makes every decision based on radical views on climate change and woke militancy, which effectively tries to divide the country into oppressors and the oppressed.”. “.

In response to inquiries from reporters regarding the document, which spanned over 900 pages, a representative for the Trump campaign directed CNN to two remarks made during the latter part of the previous year. None of these organizations or people speak for President Trump or his campaign, according to the campaign. External allies’ policy recommendations are just that—recommendations. “On the other hand, the Project 2025 recommendations mostly align with the broad themes that President Trump presented during his campaign speeches, such as his intention to immediately implement the 2020 executive order. “.

Reissuing Schedule F would ostensibly only impact positions that make policy. However, records acquired by the National Treasury Employees Union and provided to CNN reveal that Vought’s list of jobs to be reclassified under Schedule F during his tenure as Trump’s OMB administrator included administrative assistants, office managers, IT personnel, and numerous other lower-level positions.

Reporters attending the NTEU’s annual legislative conference were informed by President Doreen Greenwald that the union estimated that over 50,000 workers across all federal agencies would have been impacted. The definition of policy or confidential positions was “extended to the point of absurdity,” according to her, in the OMB documents. “.

According to Trump’s remarks, the number would be much higher if he were to win a second term because he wants the ability to fire any executive branch employee at any time.

According to Georgetown University’s Moynihan, US policies already give the president “many more political appointees than most other rich countries” permit—roughly 4,000 posts.

President Barack Obama’s senior OMB official Kenneth Baer stated, “Almost all Western democracies have a professional civil service that is immune from those sorts of partisan wranglings, but does not answer to whatever political party happens to be in power.”. To the work that the government must do, they contribute technical know-how, a sense of long history, and perspective. “Bringing in people who are getting jobs just because they did some favor to the party, or the president was elected, risks losing that expertise,” and “making thousands of additional positions subject to political change.”. Therefore, there is a chance of corruption. “.

Politics aside, these issues are universal. Robert Shea served as a senior official in the OMB under George W. Bush identified as a devoted Republican who was extremely conservative. However, he claimed that employing individuals based solely on their political affiliations would result in “an army of suck-ups.”.

Removing senior civil servants’ protections, he claimed, “would change the nature of the federal bureaucracy.”. In other words, your employer could fire you for being disloyal if you informed them that what they were suggesting was against the law, impractical, or foolish. “.

Biden has taken action to stop this kind of action. Reclassifying career civil service employees as political appointees or other at-will workers is prohibited by new regulations adopted by the Office of Personnel Management, which functions as the federal government’s human resources department, on April 4.

Reclassifying employees during a second Trump term would not be entirely prohibited by the new regulations. However, Baer said, they would produce “speed bumps.”. “A protracted period of proposed rulemaking, 90 days of comment,” among other requirements, would have to be fulfilled in order to repeal the regulation. And after that, there will probably be legal action. “.

“Locations inhabited by nationalists.”.

Trump has declared that he would relocate federal agencies from “the Washington Swamp… to places filled with patriots who love America” in addition to criticizing “faceless bureaucrats.”. “.

However, his previous attempts at such maneuvers had the effect of depleting those agencies’ expertise, skill, and experience. This was the case in 2019 when Trump relocated the Department of Agriculture’s two Kansas City-based agencies as well as the Bureau of Land Management’s headquarters to Grand Junction, Colorado.

According to Max Stier, president and chief executive of the Partnership for Public Service, an organization that is nonpartisan and advocates public service, “the vast majority of (headquarters) employees left the agencies.”. According to him, “expertise that had been built up over decades” was lost as a result of it. “It ruined the agencies.”. “.

Hundreds of the bureau’s most seasoned workers were forced out by the BLM move, which also drastically decreased diversity, with over half of the black staff in Washington, DC, choosing to retire or quit rather than relocate to Colorado, according to a 2021 Government Accountability Office investigation. The USDA’s choice to relocate the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and its Economic Research Service (ERS) to Kansas City was deemed by the GAO to be “not fully consistent with an evidence-based approach.”. “.

Research and analysis in statistics is done by the two USDA agencies. The ERS is focused on a number of topics, such as farm welfare, the results of federal agricultural policies, concerns about food security and safety, trade policy effects, and international competition. NIFA provides funding for initiatives that, among other things, safeguard food safety, improve nutrition, and support American agriculture’s ability to compete internationally.

After 32 years of employment with the USDA, the most of which she spent as an information specialist at the Economic Research Service, Verna Daniels and her coworkers learned in October 2019 that their organization was moving.

“I had a great time at work. I put in a ton of work. As Daniels put it, “I never missed a deadline.”. She claimed to have been shocked by the announcement. We were given three months to either move to wherever it was or leave the property, and everyone was terrified because it was happening so quickly. Rather than uproot her entire family, she chose to quit. It caused me great pain. “.

Relocating the USDA agencies, according to the Trump administration, will put researchers in closer contact with “stakeholders,” or farmers. Drastic idea, according to 35-year USDA Economic Research Service veteran and agricultural economist Catherine Greene. There is farming in every state that encircles Washington, DC. I was raised in southwest Virginia on a farm that dates back a century. “.

“We have devoted our entire lives to examining American farming practices and food systems,” stated Greene. I believe that the intention was to uproot the agency in a way that would force the majority of people to move on, which is exactly what happened. It was extremely foreseeable. “.

According to Tom Bewick, acting vice president of the union local for NIFA, the other relocated research agency, the National Institute for Food and Agriculture, employed 394 people at the start of the Trump administration. Due to retirements and moves, positions remained unfilled after Trump’s hiring ban. NIFA had only 270 workers left by the time the news of the move to Kansas City was made. We were losing 10 to 20 people a week once it was announced they would move us, according to Bewick. Less than 70 persons made the transfer. “We still aren’t the same agency, and we’ll never be the same agency we were,” he stated after five years. “.

Taxpayers would save $300 million over a 15-year period, according to the USDA, if they moved to Kansas City. However, the GAO said that the analysis failed to take into consideration the disruption brought on by the move, the expense of training new employees, the loss of institutional knowledge and experience, and decreased productivity. The move actually cost taxpayers between $83 million and $182 million, according to the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, when these costs are taken into account.

Rather than moving, Greene at the Economic Research Service chose to retire. Following Biden’s election to the presidency, the BLM and the two USDA agencies maintained their Grand Junction and Kansas City offices while relocating their headquarters to Washington. For federal employees who might have to make the same decision during a second Trump term, Greene expressed concern. She said, “They mean business.”. After four years of practice, they are prepared to rock and roll. “.

According to Stier at the Partnership for Public Service, there is a significant discrepancy between the public’s understanding and the actual role that the civil service plays nationwide. He said, “We’ve been conducting polls on trust in government, and the trust numbers crater when you tag on the words government ‘in Washington, DC.'”.

pursuing adversaries through the government.

Throughout the election campaign, Trump has asserted repeatedly—without providing any supporting documentation—that Biden and the Department of Justice are orchestrating a number of legal actions against him, including state-level indictments in Georgia for charges of election subversion and in New York for falsifying business records. Using that fabricated allegation as justification, Trump has gone after his political rivals with the Justice Department. He has declared he would designate a special prosecutor to look into Biden if he were to win a second term. When others questioned him politically, he threatened to have them charged, he told Univision last year.

During his previous administration, Trump made repeated attempts to use the Department of Justice in this way, telling aides that he wanted prosecutors to bring charges against political opponents like Hillary Clinton or former appointees he had fired, like James Comey, the director of the FBI. He also pushed Bill Barr, the attorney general at the time, to make up allegations that the 2020 election was rigged, something Barr declined to do.

Senior Justice Department and White House officials resisted pursuing unjustified prosecutions during that term. Their opposition was based on the custom that the president should establish general policies but refrain from getting involved in particular criminal cases, and the Justice Department should function primarily independently.

With supporters like Jeffrey Clark, a former Justice official who faces criminal charges in Georgia and disbarment in Washington, DC, for attempting to influence the results of the 2020 election, Trump has the potential to completely destroy this tradition if he wins a second term. Trump pressed to appoint Clark as acting attorney general in an attempt to hold onto the White House in his final weeks in office. He only gave up on the idea after top Justice Department officials threatened to resign in unison if Trump proceeded with the appointment.

Clark released an essay last year titled “The U. S. the Center for Renewing America, a conservative nonprofit organization founded by Russell Vought, titled “Justice Department Is Not Independent.”. As initially reported by the Washington Post, Clark also contributed to the drafting of some of the Project 2025 blueprint for a second Trump term, which included a description of how the Insurrection Act of 1807 would be used to deploy the military for domestic law enforcement.

Trump has also expressed his intention to overthrow other branches of the federal government.

Trump declared in a video from the previous year that “we will clean out all of the corrupt actors in our National Security and Intelligence apparatus, and there are plenty of them.”. “To ensure that faceless bureaucrats can never again target and persecute conservatives, Christians, or the political opponents of the left, the weaponized departments and agencies will undergo a comprehensive overhaul. “.

According to Project 2025’s blueprint, the FBI and Department of Homeland Security will be dismantled, the Environmental Protection Agency will be disarmed by reducing or eliminating its regulations on emissions and climate change, the Departments of Education and Commerce will be completely abolished, and the independence of several commissions, such as the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission, will be lost.

A personnel database for prospective hires in a second Trump administration is part of the project. In the event that Trump is elected president, his campaign managers have not promised to see through Project 2025’s plans. Critics contend that the project presents a concerning path to a second Trump term due to the active participation of numerous Trump officials, including Vought, Clark, senior adviser Stephen Miller, former chief of staff Mark Meadows, and Peter Navarro.

According to Baer, “now they really understand how to use power, and want to use it to serve not just Republican partisans but also Donald Trump.”.

Trump doesn’t give much away about his intentions while running for office.

At a rally last autumn, Trump promised his supporters, “We will put unelected bureaucrats back in their place.”. “Compared to the threat from within, the external threat is far less menacing, hazardous, and serious. “.

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