Day 1,375: If Trump wins reelection, he’s planning to fire heads of FBI, CIA and Pentagon: report
Donald Trump’s administration has been an embarrassing revolving door from the beginning. Cabinet-level positions, top aides and other officials: everyone goes sooner or later.
Despite promising to hire only the best people, one study by the Brookings Institute found that 59 of the 65 top level positions, or 91%, have turned over since Trump took office. Twenty-three of those 65 positions, or 39%, have turned over twice or more during that span. For context, Trump has seen more turnover at the Cabinet-level in his first term than Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton combined.
Trump is eyeing a bevy of firings should he win reelection on Nov. 3, according to an Axios report, largely due to their unwillingness to do Trump’s political bidding. Next on the chopping block are Defense Secretary Mark Esper, FBI Director Christopher Wray and CIA Director Gina Haspel.
The big picture: The list of planned replacements is much longer, but these are Trump’s priorities, starting with Wray.
Wray and Haspel are despised and distrusted almost universally in Trump’s inner circle. He would have fired both already, one official said, if not for the political headaches of acting before Nov. 3.
As intelligence positions, all of these roles are traditionally highly non-partisan.
Like a dictator, Trump has already set in motion rules which would allow him to oust apolitical career federal employees who he deems disloyal. Trump signed an executive order that “threatens to be the most significant assault on the nonpartisan civil service in its 137-year history: a sweeping executive order that strips job protections from employees in policy roles across the government. Exactly which roles would be affected will be up to personnel officials at federal agencies, who were tasked on Friday with reviewing all of their jobs and deciding who would qualify.”
Trump has already deputized an aide to get rid of perceived disloyal employees.
Trump has dispatched Johnny McEntee, a 30-year-old aide viewed as deeply loyal to the president, to cull disloyal employees from agencies, vet potential hires and report back on his findings. McEntee has frustrated a range of Cabinet secretaries and administration officials with his moves. But McEntee has told others he is sniffing out perceived disloyalty, making personnel moves and questioning aides for the president because too many officials have had their own agendas for too long.
As he’s already showing, should he win, Trump will only be more emboldened during the next four years. He will never have to face voters again and he has already surrounded himself with yes-men and sycophants. By purging the last remaining bit of non-outwardly loyal or apolitical voices, Trump is trying to insulate himself further from anything that could provide even a modicum of pushback.
1,375 days in, 87 to go