Deputy IG Resigns After Trump Blocked Him From Leading Virus Response Committee
According to CNN, Defense Department Principal Deputy Inspector General Glenn Fine submitted his resignation on Tuesday, more than a month after President Trump removed him as chairman of the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee.
- His resignation will be effective starting June 1st, according to Department of Defense (DoD) Inspector General spokesperson Dwrena Allen.
“It has been an honor to serve in the Inspector General community, both as the Inspector General of the Department of Justice and the DoD Acting Inspector General and Principal Deputy Inspector General performing the duties of the DoD Inspector General," Fine said in a statement. "The role of Inspectors General is a strength of our system of government. They provide independent oversight to help improve government operations in a transparent way."
- Fine is the latest federal watchdog to exit during the Trump administration, joining former State Department Inspector General Steve Linick who was fired by Trump earlier this month.
- CNN reported that Trump “has now removed multiple inspectors general following his Senate acquittal in early February, including the late-Friday dismissal of the intelligence community watchdog Michael Atkinson, who told Congress about the whistleblower complaint that kick-started the impeachment process.”
Trump’s continued hostility towards federal watchdogs presents serious issues, as their positions are vital for audits and investigations.
- CNN reported that Trump, who always expects loyalty from everyone in his administration, sees the work of inspectors general as “a feature of what he often derides as the ‘deep state’ – a politically motivated permanent bureaucracy designed to undermine him.”
- Several sources told CNN that Trump has sought to remove Fine for a while, “viewing him as a holdover from the Obama administration.”
- Trump’s efforts to thwart Fine’s leadership “escalated after Fine was selected by his peers to chair the pandemic response oversight panel tasked with preventing "waste, fraud, and abuse" in the use of coronavirus relief money,” CNN wrote.
Many officials are disheartened by Fine’s resignation.
- Trump’s former Defense Secretary James Mattis said his resignation was “regrettable.”
“It's regrettable seeing such a highly competent, non-partisan patriot and public servant leaving government service,” Mattis continued in a statement to CNN. “Mr. Glenn Fine represents all that is noble in taking on the hard work of keeping government honest and responsive. He will be missed.”
- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told CNN last month that the removal of Fine from the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee was a “problem.”
- CNN reported that this was “a sign the President was seeking to put ‘some of his loyalists’ in charge of overseeing how the relief money is spent.”