I don’t know if the inspiration for this article came more from conversations with my wife or a New York Times article.  In any event Joe Biden will be faced with a housekeeping task as he takes over the presidency.  Let’s explore.

Over the past few months we have seen repeated, and mostly successful, efforts by Donald Trump to install unqualified sycophants into positions in the federal government. He even changed some of the civil service rules and classifications of federal employees along the way.  More than anything else I feel this was part of his scorched earth strategy.  He wants the Biden administration to be unsuccessful.  He doesn’t care about America or the American people and feels an unsuccessful Biden administration will make him look good by comparison.  He thinks he can also turn it into income via speaking engagements and or Trump TV.

In Trump’s last week in office the acting Secretary of Defense, Chris Miller, ordered National Security Director (NSA) General Paul Nakasone to appoint Michael Ellis as the NSA’s General Counsel. It happened just after Miller had a meeting with Trump. This is far from an isolated incident.  It is just the most recent and highest profile one.

Ellis was a key member of Devin Nunes’ House Intelligence Committee staff before he moved over to the Trump White House. While there he took a lead role in the firing of Yevgeny “Eugene” Vindman.  If that name is just vaguely familiar it is because you are probably thinking of his twin brother Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman who prematurely retired from the Army after he committed the ultimate unforgivable sin in the Trump White House – he told the truth.  Ellis’ other notable contribution during his White House tenure was being one of the principle people who attempted to block the publication of John Bolton’s book.

You connect the dots presented in the preceding two paragraphs. My conclusion is that something stinks.

Even if the Senate obstruction headed up by Mitch McConnell doesn’t materialize, the “stacking” of the bureaucracy presents Biden with another obstacle as if Trump didn’t leave a big enough mismanagement and policy mess. The agencies that run the government are staffed mainly by career people who in most cases are dedicated to the true mission of their agency.  Cabinet Secretaries and their key underlings are political appointees, but the real worker bees do their job in a non-partisan manner regardless of which party is in control of the executive or legislative branches at any given moment.

Many of Trump’s plants will be difficult to fire because of the way he managed to manipulate job classifications but fortunately they can be reassigned into less harmful positions in the hope that they quit. The challenge is that they have to be discovered first.  That is where I feel Biden will need a “housekeeping” unit in each department to find the trash (or source of the stench if you prefer that analogy).

The same situation exists on many advisory/regulatory panels. Trump has been busy appointing sycophants to them as he heads for the exit.  Hopefully many of them will resign soon.  If not the people lose because the panels will be useless to the Biden-Harris administration and just cost the taxpayers money without providing a benefit.

The above scenario proves the importance of getting Cabinet secretaries confirmed. They are the ones who will have to hire the housekeeping squads in their domains.  Most hotels have a number on the phone you press to get housekeeping.   Joe Biden may need a phone like that on his Oval Office desk.

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