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Hullabaloo


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

 
To the victor belongs the spoils system

by digby


























And if they have to purge the executive branch of all but the most loyal Republicans, even civil servants, so be it.And if they spread their names all over the wingnut media and get the gun toting nutballs all riled up, that's just the way the game is played now:
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.


The claims posted on the conservative sites include allegations of anti-Israel and pro-Iran bias against staffers at institutions such as the State Department and the National Security Council. Breitbart News, whose former executive chairman Steve Bannon is now Trump’s chief strategist, has even published lists of workers that the president should fire.

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.”

Elliott Abrams, a veteran of the George W. Bush administration who was passed over last month for the role of deputy secretary of state because of his past criticism of Trump, agreed with Burns. Career staffers, he said "are trying to do their jobs and will respond to presidential leadership — including from a new president when an administration changes.”

U.S. civil and foreign service officers have long been seen by Republicans and Democrats as the backbone of government — subject matter experts who help political appointees administer their policy agenda regardless of who serves as commander-in-chief. But many in the Trump administration and its allies on the right are skeptical of career staffers, believing they are part of an American “deep state” that is working in secret to undermine the president.

Several people who have been targeted did not respond to requests for comment. But one said the information being spread was unnerving, in part because even if Trump's top aides don't always believe the reports they read in the conservative press, they may still feel pressure to act from voters in the Republican base who do believe the accounts.

“I, of course, worry about the fact that there are people inside the administration and outside it who may believe what they read in these things, who don’t necessarily appreciate what it means to be a career staffer,” said the employee, who spoke on condition of anonymity for job protection reasons. “Most people don’t understand that that does not come with politics attached.”

There's more. And it's creepy. But Trump did say that he believed the victor was entitled to the spoils and on of the big spoils is the ability to give out patronage jobs to your lackeys.I have to believe that's a big part of this.

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