The Hill is reporting that holdover Obama political appointees and even some career bureaucrats are refusing to implement the policies of Donald Trump and criticizing their superiors.
A handful of current and former career staffers in the Interior Department and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have openly shredded their superiors within the last several weeks, continuing a trend that has developed throughout the government over the course of Trump’s tenure in the Oval Office.
The growing opposition in the executive branch comes as the White House’s legislative agenda has stalled in Congress and Trump turns to his Cabinet agencies to change course in several policy areas. It also is emanating from career staffers or political holdovers whose resistance to Trump has, at times, been rooted in deep opposition to the president’s agenda.
“From our point of view, it’s kind of obvious,” said Jeff Ruch, the executive director of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), when asked about staffers’ growing pushback.
“You have Donald Trump, who ran and said he would drain the swamp, meaning them.”
Trump’s allies have often cast the president as the victim of the “deep state,” an entrenched liberal bureaucracy bent on damaging his agenda through leaks and resistance.
They argue the deep state extends from agencies such as the EPA, where employees could be angered with Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris climate deal, to career service intelligence agency staff who leak damaging information about the president.
Former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) on Friday even accused special counsel Robert Mueller, the former FBI director now investigating Russia’s involvement in last year’s election, as representing the “deep state at its worse.”
Conservatives are unsurprised by the opposition from federal employees.
Chris Horner, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, pointed to news reports about upset employees, social media campaigns and “civil disobedience” training for staffers looking to push back against the White House.
GOP strategist Matt Mackowiak, a contributor to The Hill, attributed the blowback to a host of factors, from the political make-up of civil servants to the use of holdover officials in government offices that are still waiting for the Senate to confirm Trump political appointees.
He said there is also a “real industry now behind recruiting whistleblowers inside the resistance movement,” and creating public outcry about the administration.
Bureaucratic resistance to a new president’s agenda — especially if the new president is a Republican — is nothing new. State Department employees who man important desks usually find a way to short-circuit a president’s policy if they don’t agree with it.
But this isn’t sabotage as much as it’s a silent coup. Put simply, government employees have no right to substitute their own ideas regarding policy for the president’s. And with this kind of encouragement, it’s going to continue:
Critics of Trump say government employees speaking out should be commended, not punished.
“I think career staff don’t typically speak out publicly unless they feel like there are serious issues and problems going on within the agency,” said Liz Purchia, a former Obama administration EPA spokeswoman.
“It takes a lot of guts for someone to make the decision to end their government service and to put themselves out there for public scrutiny and comment. … You wouldn’t see that if they didn’t feel like there was a considerable threat to the agency and its missions.”
Who cares what hysterical, paranoid lunacy these bureaucrats believe? They may think they know better than everyone else what’s needed to protect the environment. But, in their arrogance, they can only see one solution — their solution — to every problem.
Fire them, sure. But the Civil Service Act hasn’t been reformed in decades. If bureaucrats are going to act like this and serve their own agenda, that should be grounds for immediate dismissal with loss of all pension and health benefits.