Defense Department Suspends Trump Appointments Over Sabotage Fears


As the nation continues to reel from the fallout of the chaos of the Trump administration, the Defense Department has abruptly paused the officiation of last-minute Trump administration appointments to advisory boards that work with the Defense Secretary. The block emerged within days of the official swearing in of the Biden administration’s Defense Secretary, Ret. Gen. Lloyd Austin, whose Trump administration predecessor — acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller — is responsible for appointments that his team targeted. Last December, Miler — who took over after the abrupt post-election departure of then-Defense Secretary Mark Esper — appointed individuals including ex-Trump campaign officials Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie to the Defense Business Board. Obviously, both of these individuals have pro-Trump allegiances.

According to POLITICO, the halt to processing for the late Trump administration advisory board appointments “effectively prevents” the Trump allies in question from actually serving on the boards. According to the same report, the “freeze announced on Wednesday pertains only to appointees who have not yet been sworn in or have completed all the required paperwork,” meaning that individuals whose onboarding processes are complete remain in place, for now. Nevertheless, prospective advisory board members including Lewandowski and Bossie “were still undergoing a lengthy financial disclosure and security clearance process that normally takes weeks or months,” according to sources for POLITICO.

Defense Department spokesperson John Kirby — who’s one of a significant number of officials across the Biden administration who also served on the Obama team — confirmed as follows, referring to Austin:

‘The Secretary, as you would expect, is reviewing current policies in place across the Department to determine if any changes are necessary, to include the advisory boards. No final decisions have been made with respect to board membership. But we will make the information available should that change.’

At least a couple of the last-minute Trump administration appointments are rather incendiary individuals. Anthony Tata, who served as the Defense Department’s acting policy chief during the Trump administration, was sworn in to a spot on the Defense Policy Board on January 19, the Trump administration’s final full day in power. In the past, Tata has referred to former President Barack Obama as a “terrorist leader,” and he has characterized Islam as violent — and this guy is who the Trump administration wanted to have advising the Secretary of Defense. Scott O’Grady was sworn in to the same board on the same day, and he’s evidently a subscriber of the false conspiracy theory that the 2020 presidential election was rigged against Trump.

Besides their work to directly confront some of the damaging impacts from Trump, the Biden administration has also been proactively working on key agenda items, like fighting climate change.

On Wednesday, President Biden signed a slew of executive actions to combat the crisis, including a halt to new oil and gas drilling leases on public lands and a kickstart for the “process for the U.S. to develop an emission reduction target and a climate finance plan,” CBS reports. Biden characterized his recent actions as “about coming to the moment to deal with this maximum threat that is now facing us, climate change, with a greater sense of urgency.”