OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Former President Donald Trump, who is set to begin campaigning in earnest over the next few weeks as he seeks to become the GOP’s 2024 presidential nominee, has been developing a new plan to “drain the swamp” should he manage to win.
One part of the plan involves an executive order that would allow for the immediate firing of federal workers, thereby ending their virtual ‘job-for-life’ status.
“It would strip any official who has anything to do with the policy of any real career protections or due process. Government employees could essentially be fired at will or even on a whim,” a federal worker union official warned, according to the Washington Examiner.
During his first term, Trump had hopes of reforming federal employee hiring and firing processes in order to replace embedded careerists who were slow-walking or thwarting his agenda, but his administration ran into tough resistance from federal unions.
In July, a report noted that Trump and his allies spent the previous several months meticulously planning not only his return to the White House but also a massive overhaul of the federal bureaucracy down to the mid-staff level that could lead to tens of thousands of firings.
According to Axios, whose correspondents spent three months interviewing some two dozen Trump insiders and others familiar with the planning, Trump will reimplement “Schedule F,” an executive order he issued just days before the 2020 election and which was quickly rescinded by President Joe Biden that calls for completely reshaping hundreds of federal agencies.
The plan calls for replacing current bureaucrats with young professionals who are all-in with his “MAGA” agenda. Schedule F formed a new category of federal employees who are in “positions of a confidential, policy-determining, policy-making, or policy-advocating character,” and allows for those employees to be replaced following a presidential transition.
“The Federal Government benefits from career professionals in positions that are not normally subject to change as a result of a Presidential transition,” the order says.
Former President Trump’s top allies are preparing to radically reshape the federal government if he is re-elected, purging potentially thousands of civil servants and filling career posts with loyalists to him and his “America First” ideology, people involved in the discussions tell Axios.
The impact could go well beyond typical conservative targets such as the Environmental Protection Agency and the Internal Revenue Service. Trump allies are working on plans that would potentially strip layers at the Justice Department — including the FBI, and reaching into national security, intelligence, the State Department and the Pentagon, sources close to the former president say.
As many as 50,000 employees could immediately be fired, including many at the Justice Department, Pentagon, and the FBI.
Axios further explained that the Trump effort to reshape government institutions and change their culture, politically, is extensive, multi-layered, and ongoing.
“Well-funded groups are already developing lists of candidates selected often for their animus against the system — in line with Trump’s long-running obsession with draining ‘the swamp,’” the outlet reported. “This includes building extensive databases of people vetted as being committed to Trump and his agenda.”
“The preparations are far more advanced and ambitious than previously reported. What is happening now is an inversion of the slapdash and virtually non-existent infrastructure surrounding Trump ahead of his 2017 presidential transition,” the report continued.
“These groups are operating on multiple fronts: shaping policies, identifying top lieutenants, curating an alternative labor force of unprecedented scale, and preparing for legal challenges and defenses that might go before Trump-friendly judges, all the way to a 6-3 Supreme Court,” Axios added.
Though Biden rescinded Schedule F, the order is serving as the blueprint for reshaping and reforming the federal bureaucracy that Trump’s lieutenants are using to plan for his return.
“We are consciously bringing on the toughest and most courageous fighters with the know-how and credibility to crush the deep state,” Russ Vought, who heads the Center for Renewing America (CRA), told Axios. The organization’s mission is to “renew a consensus of America as a nation under God with unique interests worthy of defending.”
Other Trump-aligned organizations are involved as well, including America First Legal, a group formed by former senior adviser Steven Miller — an organization that has challenged several of Biden’s policies. The group is involved in forming a cadre of attorneys who could fill roles in a new Trump administration.
Also, American Moment, a group that recruits and trains staff for all governmental levels, says it has 700 “fully vetted” individuals who could fill roles right off the bat.