The White House apparently believes that if government officials aren't with President Trump, they're against him.
The Trump administration values loyalty above nearly anything else, The New Yorker reported Monday, draining the proverbial "swamp" by refilling it with employees who pledge allegiance to the president.
White House officials sought to fill empty posts, but refused to consider anyone who had opposed Trump during the 2016 election, a foreign affairs official who served under the Reagan and Bush administrations said. Trump and his allies welcome employee departures, preferring to rid themselves of any "obstructionist" who might "subvert" the president's agenda.
Agency heads, like Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, demand loyalty as well. Employees of the Bureau of Land Management were asked to wear "vision card" badges, and one staffer said neglecting to wear the badge could mark someone as insufficiently "loyal to the flag," the magazine reported.
Employees who are seemingly demoted for their lack of devotion to the administration often complain, but the board entrusted with handling complaints has been effectively shuttered since Trump took office. Without the board, the administration has been able to bury potentially damaging information, reports The New Yorker. Officials reported "a concerted effort" to hide evidence of misconduct or corruption, saying the administration is "deliberately avoiding creating records." Read more at The New Yorker. Summer Meza
Don Blankenship, the Republican candidate for Senate in West Virginia, may want to update his outdated vocabulary.
While speaking to a West Virginia radio show Monday, Blankenship referred to the father of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao as "a wealthy Chinaperson." The comment came as Blankenship has been facing fierce opposition from Republican establishment leaders who want to see a more traditional GOP candidate in West Virginia, reports The New York Times — including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Chao's husband.
Blankenship, a former coal mining executive, spent a year in prison for conspiring to violate mine safety standards and is still on parole. He has been the subject of attack ads paid for by a super PAC that backs McConnell that emphasize that Blankenship is a "convicted criminal" and accuse him of purposefully pumping coal slurry into local drinking water.
In response to the segments, Blankenship told the radio show that McConnell had conflicts of interest because of his marriage to Chao. Chao's father is "a wealthy Chinaperson," Blankenship said, per the Times, adding that McConnell is "soft on China" because of his connections there.
Blankenship himself has considered seeking citizenship in China — a country he said is successful because of "dictatorial capitalism" — and once started a business to import generators from China. He stopped running the trade company when he was sentenced to prison, however. Blankenship's own ads describe his sentencing as an unfair and overblown misunderstanding, caused by an "Obama judge" and team of "Obama prosecutors" who wanted to bring him down because of their hatred of the coal industry.