Conservative media figures praised President Donald Trump’s firing of acting Attorney General Sally Yates and called on him to further purge the federal government of “Obama appointees” and “lifelong leftists.” Trump has also frozen federal hiring and is reportedly considering a “reduction in force.” His press secretary also suggested State Department employees should “get with the program or … go.”
Trump Takes Aim At Federal Employees With Hiring Freeze, Firing, And Potential Reduction In Force
Politico: “Trump Is Setting Himself Up For A Messy Clash” With Federal Employees. Since his inauguration, President Donald Trump has “signed an executive order freezing most federal hiring,” and he “is also fine-tuning plans to shrink several agencies focused on domestic policy,” Politico reported, “setting himself up for a messy clash with the country’s 2.1 million federal employees.” Politico also noted that Trump is further contemplating a “reduction in force,” which would allow him “to skirt the civil service’s complicated rules for hiring and firing.” [Politico, 1/23/17]
Trump Fired Acting Attorney General Sally Yates For Refusing To Defend Trump’s Muslim Ban. Trump fired Sally Yates, the acting attorney general appointed by President Barack Obama, after she instructed the Department of Justice not to defend Trump’s Muslim ban executive order in court. A White House statement said that Yates “betrayed the Department of Justice,” according to CNN. CNN quoted Stephen Miller, a senior Trump aide, saying that Yates’ refusal to defend the executive order is “a further demonstration of how politicized our legal system has become.” [CNN, 1/31/17]
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer To Federal Employees Opposed To Muslim Ban: “Get With The Program Or … Go.” After dozens of career diplomats in the State Department signed a “dissent channel” document expressing opposition to Trump’s Muslim ban, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said, “Either get with the program or they can go.” According to The Washington Post, when asked to “respond to the document, Spicer suggested that the ‘career bureaucrats’ who disagreed with the executive order should not continue to serve in the government.” [The Washington Post, 1/30/17]
Conservatives Urge Trump To Continue Purging The Federal Government Of “Obama Appointees” And “Lifelong Leftists”
Fox's Andrew Napolitano: If Federal Employees “Can't Work For This President, They Should Go, And He'll Be Happy To Replace Them.” Fox senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano cheered Trump for firing Yates, saying, “If she can't do what the president needs to have done, she has to step aside. And if she won't step aside, she has to be fired, and that's what happened.” After Fox host Steve Doocy said that “there are a lot of people like her in the administration … who are partisan,” Napolitano added, “If they can't work for this president, they should go, and he'll be happy to replace them.” From the January 31 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends:
ANDREW NAPOLITANO: Look, [former acting Attorney General Sally Yates was an] Obama appointee. She's not going to do a favor for Donald Trump. But, if she can't do what the president needs to have done, she has to step aside. And if she won't step aside, she has to be fired, and that's what happened.
STEVE DOOCY (CO-HOST): Judge, there are a lot of people like her in the administration -- career diplomats, people at the IRS, the EPA, people who are partisan.
NAPOLITANO: And President Trump and his team will find who those people are, and do what he's done so well.
BRIAN KILMEADE (CO-HOST): But the longer they stay in place, the more problem he's going to have in everything he does.
NAPOLITANO: But we have in this country what’s called the “unified executive.” Everybody in the executive branch works for the president of the United States. They don't work for themselves. And if they can't work for this president, they should go, and he'll be happy to replace them. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 1/31/17]
Breitbart’s Joel Pollak: “Ideological Careerists And Superfluous Beltway Barnacles” In The Federal Government “Must Go.” Breitbart’s Joel Pollak declared there to be a “‘coup of the bureaucrats’” underway, writing that “there are enough die-hard Barack Obama appointees, and lifelong leftists” throughout the federal government “destroying the foundations of liberal democracy.” Pollak further wrote that to in order for the country to staunch this “rebellion,” “they must go”:
The problem goes much further than one official. Trump’s opponents are burrowed throughout the federal bureaucracy, and at senior as well as junior levels.
Contrary to what some conservatives may suspect, they are not the majority of government employees. Most are loyal to the Constitution and to their duties. But there are enough die-hard Barack Obama appointees, and lifelong leftists, to frustrate the Trump administration — and they may be encouraging each other to do so.
The “coup of the bureaucrats” must end; the bureaucracy must surrender.
There is a place for criticizing the president — namely, outside of the government. There are places for challenging Trump’s authority — namely, the opposition benches, the courts, and ultimately the ballot box.
Those who abuse the power of the bureaucracy to defy the electorate, and the Constitution, may think themselves heroes, but they are destroying the foundations of liberal democracy. They must go. [Breitbart.com, 1/31/17]
Bloomberg View’s Leonid Bershidsky: Trump Should “Show America” The Federal Government “Could Be Run With A Much Smaller Army Of Government Employees.” Bloomberg View columnist Leonid Bershidsky wrote that Trump’s administration “could be the beginning of a new era, in which Americans find out they can do just as well without so much federal government.” Bershidsky argues that Trump should not accept the premise that “U.S. federal government employees are mostly essential to the country's well-being,” writing that Trump “could be just the person to show America that it could be run with a much smaller army of government employees”:
Donald Trump begins his presidential term without having filled a vast majority of vacancies in his administration. That could be a disaster in the making -- or it could be the beginning of a new era, in which Americans find out they can do just as well without so much federal government.
Rick Perry, Trump's nominee for energy secretary, once wanted to abolish the department he's been tapped to run, along with the departments of commerce and education. Now, he says he regrets it “after being briefed on so many of the vital functions of the Department of Energy.” But perhaps Trump and his few appointees shouldn't listen to that siren song.
[Trump] could be just the person to show America that it could be run with a much smaller army of government employees -- and show the employees themselves that they could do more with their qualifications. [Bloomberg, 1/20/17]
Fox’s Mike Huckabee: “The ‘Drain The Swamp’ Analogy Is Quite Appropriate” For The Federal Workforce; “It’s Something That Needs To Happen.” Fox contributor Mike Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas, said he expects Trump to “clean up this total mess” in the bureaucracy, adding, “The ‘drain the swamp’ analogy is quite appropriate, Bill. And it's something that needs to happen, needed to happen a long time ago.” From the January 12 edition of Fox News’ America’s Newsroom:
BILL HEMMER (HOST): It is clear, though, with the new administration you have your own people at the top of these organizations, but you will, for the most part, have everybody who's working there underneath them still working there underneath them. And I -- is this going to be tricky, governor?
MIKE HUCKABEE: Well, it always is. The bureaucrats, whether at the local, state, or federal level, always say this when a new administration comes in: “We were here when you came. We'll be here when you leave. Have a good time, but we're still going to be here.” And to a large degree that's always the tension in any changeover of power.
But I do believe you are going to see some very strong pushback from the president himself, as well as his chief people. And they're going to try to clean up this total mess. The “drain the swamp” analogy is quite appropriate, Bill. And it's something that needs to happen, needed to happen a long time ago. There is great people in the intelligence community, terrific people. And it's unfair to the overwhelmingly good people that a few political people in those agencies have really sullied the reputation of what really should be a sterling kind of reputation for intel. [Fox News, America's Newsroom, 1/12/17]
Daily Beast’s Matt Lewis: “Purging People Who Don’t Agree With [Trump’s] Worldview” Is “A Rational Decision.” Conservative writer and CNN political commentator Matt Lewis said “purging people who don't agree with their worldview” is a “rational decision” for the Trump administration “when you have people on the inside actively working against you.” From the February 1 edition of CNN’s New Day:
CHRIS CUOMO (CO-HOST): This is one of the things that the election spoke to most clearly, is that people who came out for Trump and people who were coming out for Bernie Sanders don't like the status quo, and I don't know that these federal workers will have a very sympathetic ear with their fellow Americans. What's your take?
MATT LEWIS: No, look, I think that's right. And I think this partly explains why the Trump administration is purging people who don't agree with their worldview. It's a rational decision when you have people on the inside actively working against you. And I -- look, Donald Trump is a very unique figure, he has some unique problems, there's no doubt about that. But I wonder if Marco Rubio were the Republican president, as [inaudible] and thoughtful, as much as he would probably try to do more outreach, and be a kinder, gentler conservative, how much of this stuff would still be going on? In other words, how much of this is a sign of the times, not of Donald Trump's being outside of the mainstream? [CNN, New Day, 2/1/17]
Radio Host Rush Limbaugh: Every “Obama Appointee Should Have Been Gone Within 30 Minutes Of Trump Taking The Oath Of Office.” Radio host Rush Limbaugh applauded Trump for firing Yates, saying that he “was totally correct and well within his rights and, in fact, was obligated,” to do so. Limbaugh continued, “Sally Yates and every other Obama appointee should have been gone within 30 minutes of Trump taking the oath of office. That is his fault for not doing so. I don’t know why he didn’t do so.” From the January 31 edition of Premiere Radio Networks’ The Rush Limbaugh Show:
RUSH LIMBAUGH: Donald Trump was totally correct and well within his rights and, in fact, was obligated to fire Sally Yates, the acting attorney general at the Department of Justice. She should not have been there in the first place, and it’s not the fault of the Senate for not confirming Sessions already. And it’s not the fault of anybody but Donald Trump. Donald Trump is singularly responsible for this woman being there. She should have been let go on day one with every Obama appointee. When are we going to learn? They do not believe in the kind of civility that we believe in. George Bush holding over a bunch of Clinton people to try to smooth the waters after the Florida recount, no go, didn’t matter. The left is simply a bunch of mean-spirited extremist bullies who are not interested in cooperating, working together, being civil, or any of that. Sally Yates and every other Obama appointee should have been gone within 30 minutes of Trump taking the oath of office. That is his fault for not doing so. I don’t know why he didn’t do so, but I have a theory. I know that Donald Trump knows he faces opposition. But how many times have I repeated over the course of this entire campaign, as I have tried to make people understand Donald Trump, the first thing I’ve told everybody, he’s not ideological. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 1/31/17]
Radio Host Laura Ingraham: There Must “Be A Cleanout In Every Agency.” Conservative radio host Laura Ingraham said there “has to be a cleanout in every agency” after discredited Republican lawyer Joseph diGenova said that a purge “has to be done in every agency.”
JOSEPH DIGENOVA: Why in the hell was [Sally Yates] still there? Why did they keep her?
LAURA INGRAHAM (HOST): Explain the process for the new Trump cabinet to clean out, if possible, Obama holdovers. Because a lot of them are career civil servants, correct? And they work in Justice, all over the Justice Department. But you can't fire them, right? You can just detail them to other places?
DIGENOVA: No. Well, what you have to do is -- and this has to be done in every agency. It's a very difficult task.
INGRAHAM: It has to be a cleanout in every agency. Joe diGenova is saying that you have to clean out every agency and every cabinet department of all these holdovers. [Courtside Entertainment Group, The Laura Ingraham Show, 1/31/17]