Trump allies readying plans to gut US civil service if he returns to the White House

In October 2020, then-president Donald Trump signed an executive order that would’ve allowed him to fire a broad swath of the nonpartisan civil servants who run the day-to-day operations of every part of the US government. Now, his allies are laying the groundwork for him to follow through on that plan if he retakes the presidency in 2025.

According to Axios, a slew of Trump-aligned think tanks and non-profits are “developing lists of candidates selected often for their animus against the system — in line with Trump’s long-running obsession with draining ‘the swamp’” who would be placed in federal agencies on day one of a second Trump administration.

These political cronies would be in positions to “accelerate controversial policy and enforcement changes, but also enable revenge tours against real or perceived enemies, and potentially insulate the president and allies from investigation or prosecution”.

The lynchpin of the Trumpworld plan is Mr Trump’s now-repealed executive order, “Creating Schedule F in the Excepted Service”, which would have permitted him to strip civil service protections from tens of thousands of federal workers such as staff attorneys and subject matter experts.

At the time Mr Trump put the order in place, former Office of Government Ethics boss Walter Shaub told The Independent that it was a dagger aimed at the heart of the nonpartisan civil service system the US has used since the late 1800s.

“[This could] take us back to the spoils system and all the corruption that comes with it,” he said.

Then-American Federation of Government Employees National President Everett Kelley called the move “the most profound undermining of the civil service in our lifetimes” and said Mr Trump had “declared war on the professional civil service by giving himself the authority to fill the government with his political cronies who will pledge their unwavering loyalty to him, not to America”.

Mr Trump’s allies are largely intent on continuing that war, Axios reported, by stacking agencies with cronies and filling his cabinet with many of the loyalists who surrounded him in his final days in office.

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