Trump Officials Worry President Will Retaliate If They Report Unethical Acts
Career government workers in the White House Pentagon and State Department fear that their careers will be quickly ended by President Donald Trump if they so much as report any unethical or illegal acts within the administration, calling the atmosphere “not just chilling but frightening,” according to Raw Story.
President Trump fired witnesses who testified against him during the House impeachment hearings following his acquittal by the Republican-controlled Senate.
Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) said that Trump’s “personal insecurities and vindictiveness are making our nation less secure,” and added that the president “won’t tolerate people who tell the truth,” with government workers agreeing that Trump has served notice to all of them.
The Trump administration removed Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and his twin brother, Lt. Col. Yevgeny Vindman, from their positions within the National Security Council on Friday. European Union Ambassador Gordon Sondland announced he was being recalled to Washington the same day.
According to a report from the Washington Post, the White House framed the Vindman brothers’ ousting as part of a downsizing of the NSC, as National security adviser Robert O’Brien announced a plan to decrease the more than 200 staff members, most of whom are career officials, to about 100.
Yet, the actions against the Vindman brothers and Sondland, just a day after the president’s angry speech in the White House’s East Room, led Trump’s critics to dub it the “Friday night massacre” -- a mirrored image of the “Saturday night massacre” when President Richard Nixon forced out several senior Justice Department officials during the Watergate scandal in 1973.
Fernando Cutz, a former senior adviser to ousted national security adviser H.R. McMaster said the message was clearly received.
“Every career official will tell you it’s not just chilling but frightening,” Cutz said. “You’re seeing things happen in an unprecedented way that even Nixon didn’t do … The broader message to career officials is that you can’t speak up. Even if you see something illegal, something unethical, you can’t speak up. That’s the message the president wants to send.”