Conservative news outlets, including one with links to a top White House official, are singling out individual career government employees for criticism, suggesting in articles that certain staffers will not be sufficiently loyal to President Donald Trump by virtue of their work under former President Barack Obama.
The articles — which have appeared in Breitbart News, the Conservative Review, and other outlets — have alarmed veteran officials in both parties as well as current executive branch staffers. They say the stories are adding to tensions between career staffers and political appointees as they begin to implement Trump’s agenda, and they worry that the stories could inspire Trump to try purging federal agencies of perceived enemies.
Washington veterans say they can’t recall similar targeting of government employees, who are required to stay apolitical and generally shun the spotlight.
“It’s deeply unfair to single people out and question their loyalty,” said William Burns, president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and a former longtime diplomat, “It’s demoralizing for institutions. It’s demoralizing for professionals, and it’s offensive.”
When did working for the government become an entitlement?
One of the reforms of the old Progressive Era was the concept of a professional civil service that was independent of politics. Under the old patronage or “spoils” system every government job was filled by party loyalists from the winner’s party. The patronage system came to be viewed as inherently corrupt.
Thanks to public employee unions, the civil service has come to be dominated by Democrats. It has also become the unofficial fourth branch of government.
It’s time to drain that swamp.