As leaks and media attacks on Trump appointees continue to undermine the job of putting the country back on track, some in the government are pressuring the new President to put away the olive branch and purge the government of all persons appointed to any position by Obama, especially those appointed since the election. One source inside the inner circle says that President Trumps advisers are urging him to “bite the bullet” and fire all remaining Obama appointees.
But the President is reluctant to take such action for a couple of reasons. First, the transition between administrations has been hard enough already with democrats in congress fighting every appointment. Secondly, he feels that taking such action would only feed the hate and animosity toward his administration by the press and members of congress. But most feel that such action will be taken sooner or later because the actions of these holdovers has put his administration in constant crisis-control mode.
Trump advisers have had enough of the fake stories, leaks and accusations and are saying it is time to take action. “His playbook should be to get rid of the Obama appointees immediately,” said Newt Gingrich, a top surrogate. “There are an amazing number of decisions that are being made by appointees that are totally opposed to Trump and everything he stands for. Who do you think those people are responding to?”
But there is another reality, one that is much more complicated. The Executive Branch has thousands of open jobs in all agencies, many nonpolitical civilian employees are critical of the administration, and some Cabinet secretaries say they need the Obama people during the transition. They are only a few dozen Obama political appointees remaining in the federal government apparatus. But unfortunately, and not by chance.
But if these appointees were all let go today, the administration would still have to deal with thousands of civilian employees. Many of them with strong allegiances to the Democrat Party and Obama. They are skeptical of Trump because they resent his assault on Washington and its culture. Many of them have been openly clashing with Trump appointees.
From Homeland Security to Defense, it’s become a topic among employees about what lines they will not cross before quitting, and how best to slow-walk orders from above to frustrate implementation. Amid those conversations is how long they’d be willing to hold out to bear witness, and try to improve a climate they increasingly hate, or whether to leak information about changes they see in order to try and stop them. In fact, one State Department official openly admitted “I want to be able to tell people what’s happening here.” Which is a total violation of his oath of office.
Mr. Trump would like to make converts of these Obamaites, but that is not going to happen. At least not in the short term. But with so much to be done, Mr. Trump may have to bend to the wishes of his advisers and dismiss in mass, all the Obama holdovers whether he wants to or not. As Gingrich added: “Ninety-five percent of the bureaucrats are against him.” He has to have his own team in place if he’s going to be able to get things done.”
The White House did not respond to a request for comment.