Politics

Federal employees step up defiance of Trump

Government employees are growing increasingly willing to criticize or defy the White House and President Trump’s top appointees.

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 the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) group, 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 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.

“It’s not enough just to be a government employee and resign because of the direction your agency is going,” he said, noting that officials’ concerns are often sincere. “Now you have to do it in a highly public way, out of social pressure and personal motivation.”

More you can find Here : Hill

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