Having never fully recovered from the humiliating and shocking electoral defeat at the hands of political neophyte Donald Trump over a year ago, the Deep State and establishment media set to work immediately to reverse that intolerable outcome by weaving a patently ludicrous “Russia conspiracy” narrative about the shoestring campaign that took them all to the cleaners.
Now that this narrative, and the corrupt investigation it engendered, is collapsing around their ears — with more and more attention being devoted to the very real collusion between our intelligence agencies, Democratic operatives, and Big Media to bring down this presidency — the establishment is quickly pivoting to another tack: attacking the “credentials” of Trump loyalists within the administration in an attempt to block a presidential policy agenda that they regard with abhorrence.
Make no mistake: the DC policy establishment, right and left alike, are well aware that they are facing the very real prospect of the collapse of their carefully nurtured policy priorities of the last three decades if President Trump carries through on the agenda he ran on, and they are determined not to let that happen. After all, their own long-standing policy preferences — for war, free trade uber alles at the expense of American workers and communities, and unlimited immigration — would have been perfectly safe under any other Administration, be it Republican or Democrat, Clinton or Bush. So why let this gatecrasher ruin the party, if it can be prevented?
Since the project of protecting their inside-the-Beltway agenda priorities through the subversion of Deep State careerists in executive agencies has only met with limited success, the establishment cabal have turned their sights on political appointees loyal to Trump. Second-tier political appointees, duly chosen by the president and faithfully executing his priorities throughout the administration, are now facing an orchestrated campaign designed to frustrate the Trump agenda by questioning their qualifications for the positions they hold. Recent examples of Trumpites on the establishment hit-list include Taylor Weyeneth at the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) and Payne Griffin at Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), loyal vets of Trump’s insurgent campaign who have been very effective at carrying out the President’s mandate at their respective agencies.
The thinly-sourced, poorly documented stories emanating from the mainstream media about their lack of credentials for the positions they hold constitute an unprecedented and dangerous tactic on the part of a partisan press and their Democratic allies: going after policies they oppose by targeting personnel that have proved themselves exceptionally effective in implementing those policies.
Apparently, a Democratic opposition research group, American Bridge, has been using the Freedom of Information Act to obtain the resumes and pay grades of Trump appointees and feeding the information to allies in the media in a coordinated effort to oust young members of the administration loyal to the President and faithfully executing his orders. The Obama and Bush administrations were filled with hundreds of young, zealous campaign vets whose chief qualification for their position of authority was their loyalty to the sitting President and his agenda, and no one blinked an eye. That is, after all, as it should be: unqualified (a.k.a. uncorrupted) advocates of the stated will of the majority are precisely the people our founders envisioned calling the policy shots in our representative democracy.
In this case, Weyeneth and Griffin are treading on establishment feet by implementing policy priorities in trade and regulation that challenge powerful business interests in both parties. USTR has recently been the bane of globalists with an interest in bolstering or maintaining the status quo on bad trade deals that leave American workers in the dust but pad their own bottom lines. ONDCP meanwhile, in compiling their opioid report, sidelined Big Pharma in favor of hearing from those without a vested interest in maintaining the failed status quo.
It’s clear that the targeting of lower level personnel is a surrogate battle by means of which a policy establishment with a vested interest in preserving the status quo is fighting to neutralize an agenda that threatens those interests.
But there should be no confusion about the fact that this is a surrogate policy battle, not a legitimate concern about job qualifications of political appointees. Unless the administration (in particular the Office of Presidential Personnel) defends the loyal soldiers for President Trump’s agenda now under concerted attack, the effort to purge the true Trumpites from the agencies will gather steam. The fact of the matter is that the President can appoint whoever he likes, and if the DC establishment doesn’t like it, they’d better start learning how to win national elections. Trump needs more loyalists like Taylor Weyeneth and Payne Griffin to fight for his priorities, or those priorities will be subsumed by an establishment Swamp determined to frustrate him at every turn.
Robert Wasinger served in senior advisory and liaison roles in President Trump’s campaign and transition team, after extensive experience on Capitol Hill.