Glenn Fine, the person appointed by a panel of inspectors general to fill the role of watchdog over the $2 trillion pandemic relief fund, has been demoted and replaced by Donald Trump.
Fine had been the acting IG for the Pentagon. But Trump removed him and named the EPA inspector general, Sean W. O’Donnell, in his place.
“Mr. Fine is no longer on the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee,” Dwrena Allen, a spokeswoman for the Pentagon inspector general’s office, confirmed. She added that Fine will return to his Senate-confirmed post as principal deputy inspector general of the Pentagon.
Trump’s action comes on the heels of his firing of Michael Atkinson, inspector general of the intelligence community. That move upset many on Capitol Hill, including some Republicans.
The firing of Fine will no doubt be seen by Democrats as an effort to circumvent accountability practices put in place by Congress.
Trump’s allies in Congress have mostly ignored his recent moves against inspectors general, though Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.V.) recently said they’d ask the administration for a fuller explanation about Atkinson’s ouster. On Tuedsay, Grassley offered gentle advice to Trump, urging him to consider IG findings as “a TO DO list & not criticism.”
Naturally, Democrats got hysterical.
“The sudden removal and replacement of Acting Inspector General Fine is part of a disturbing pattern of retaliation by the president against independent overseers fulfilling their statutory and patriotic duties to conduct oversight on behalf of the American people,” said Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a statement.
Very dramatic, but Nancy left out an important detail: Fine did nothing that Trump should “retaliate” against him. He wanted his own choice in the position and that appears to be that.
O’Donnell has been EPA IG for only a few months but has already crossed some members of the White House staff. I doubt very much whether O’Donnell is going to be a Trump sycophant. Democrats are just making noise.
The accountability committee is charged with “promot[ing] transparency and … prevent and detect fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement; and mitigate major risks that cut across program and agency boundaries.” It’s not quite as harmless as it sounds. The committee will be reviewing contracts and grants to make sure they meet the Democrats’ notions of “worker protections” and “fairness.” How that works out will be interesting to see.
This was a routine personnel matter blown all out of proportion by the media and Democrats because of the recent firing of IG Atkinson. O’Donnell is not going to lie down for Trump, or for Democrats either. The liberal noise machine was working overtime on this one.