Trump Appointed Head Of Council Defects & Resigns In Protest

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A top Trump appointee has resigned in protest of a recent executive order from President Trump that places thousands of civil service positions under the same regulations as those covering political appointees in the federal government. Ronald Sanders issued his letter of resignation revealing his decision to step away from the chairmanship of the Federal Salary Council on Sunday, and he directly tied his decision to the president’s controversial recent order. The order’s removal of protections for large swathes of the federal civil service means that Trump — or one of his similarly-minded successors — could be free to shape more of the federal government to their liking, including many career public service roles whose jobs are supposed to be non-partisan.

The Federal Salary Council “oversees an annual comparison of federal vs. private-sector salaries and the locality-based pay system for a large majority of the 2.1 million executive branch employees,” The Washington Post explains. Sanders — who says he is a longtime Republican but “cannot in good conscience continue” to work for the Trump administration — wrote, in part:

‘I simply cannot be part of an Administration that seeks… to replace apolitical expertise with political obeisance. Career Federal employees are legally and duty-bound to be nonpartisan; they take an oath to preserve and protect our Constitution and the rule of law… not to be loyal to a particular President or Administration.’

As The Washington Post explains, the president’s controversial executive order means that tens of thousands of critical roles in the federal civil service now “do not require competition in hiring, or even public notice that a position is available, do not allow for union representation and do not allow for appeals of disciplinary actions, including firing.” Trump’s removal of the requirement for a competitive hiring process and his ban on appeals of firings for large numbers of jobs means that the president could more easily hire his lackeys and more easily fire those who do not fall in line. In his resignation letter, Sanders called Trump’s executive order “nothing more than a smoke screen for what is clearly an attempt to require the political loyalty of those who advise the President, or failing that, to enable their removal with little if any due process.”

The implementation of this new executive order from Trump is not the first time that he has tried to reshape the federal government in the image of his political agenda.

In an infamous example of Trump’s effort to reshape the federal government to his liking, he punitively fired the head of the FBI while that then-FBI Director — James Comey — was leading the Russia investigation. Comey has infamously revealed that at one point while he was still on the job, Trump asked for “loyalty” from the then-FBI Director.

In the time since, reporting has come out indicating that Trump has been contemplating firing Christopher Wray, the Comey replacement who Trump himself nominated to the position. Meanwhile, in the time in between, Trump even fired the Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, replacing him with Bill Barr — who has repeatedly proven ready and willing to carry out the president’s political dirty work, even if Barr doesn’t admit as much.