Trump Can’t Lead a Hostile Government
In interview with Politico, Trump campaign advisers Newt Gingrich and Roger Stone urged the president to get rid of as many Obama political appointees as possible and replace them with people who can get on board with his agenda.
“His playbook should be to get rid of the Obama appointees immediately,” Gingrich told the site. “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.”
Stone concurred. “If you employ people who aren’t loyal to you,” he said, “you can’t be surprised when they leak.”
The advice comes at a time when the Trump administration is fighting a nonstop war against leaks springing from every corner of the executive branch, including the White House, the State Department, and the DOJ. Over the last month, leaks have rocked the administration on everything from conversations Jeff Sessions and Michael Flynn had with the Russian ambassador to President Trump’s private phone calls with foreign leaders. And while Trump and the Republican Congress has vowed to find the leakers and root them out, nary a day goes by where something doesn’t slip through to the media. In many cases, these sources are trading in classified information, making their actions not only disloyal but illegal.
As Politico reports it, however, Obama’s political appointees are only a small fraction of the problem. “From Homeland Security to Defense and beyond, it’s become a regular conversation among employees about what lines they will not cross before quitting, and how best to slow-walk orders from above to frustrate implementation,” they write.
If this is an accurate description of Trump’s bureaucracy, it’s no wonder the president is finding it hard to put his agenda into action. Those who are charged with actually doing the work are, at best, finding every way possible to simply…not do it.
Gingrich acknowledged that was the biggest part of the problem. “Ninety-five percent of the bureaucrats are against him,” he said.
But he said that Sen. Chuck Schumer was purposely making it difficult for Trump to nominate his own people to positions that require Senate confirmation. “I didn’t get it early on,” he told Politico. “This is not about slowing down the Cabinet. This is about keeping working control of the government for Obama. It’s actually very shrewd on Schumer’s part. Trump is not going to have control of the government until at least June.”
That gives an insubordinate, hostile network of Obama loyalists and bureaucrats another three months in which they can work directly against Trump and try to undermine his presidency.
But if Trump can push through and survive this internal strife, we may have something to really look forward to come summer and beyond.