Donald Trump Renews Pledge to Purge Administrative State Employees if Reelected

Former U.S. President Donald Trump gestures during an event at his Mar-a-Lago home on Nove
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

If former President Donald Trump wins reelection in 2024, he will work to deconstruct the administrative state, the apparatus of unelected bureaucrats in federal agencies who write binding rules with, without, or against the law.

The administrative state uses its rule-making ability to essentially usurp the separation of powers between the three branches of government by creating a so-called fourth branch of government not created by the Constitution. Nearly 2 million federal government employees in federal agencies make up the administrative state.

Trump refers to the administrative state as the “swamp” and the “deep state.”

“We will demolish the deep state,” Trump vowed at a Michigan rally in June. “We will expel the warmongers from our government. We will drive out the globalists. We will cast out the communists, Marxists and fascists. And we will throw off the sick political class that hates our country.”

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Trump’s agenda to purge unaccountable administrative state employees would prevent unelected bureaucrats in the federal government from writing rules without legislative approval, such as pandemic-era mandates. But the purge of far-left bureaucrats would include more than just the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. His agenda encompasses intelligence agencies, the State Department, the Environmental Protection Agency, IRS, and defense bureaucracies.

Russell Vought, former director of the Office of Management and Budget in the Trump administration and who now runs a think tank, the Center for Renewing America, told the New York Times his organization is studying tactics within the law to eliminate the administrative state with presidential power.

“What we’re trying to do is identify the pockets of independence and seize them,” he said.

“Our current executive branch was conceived of by liberals for the purpose of promulgating liberal policies,” former White House personnel chief John McEntee told the Times. “There is no way to make the existing structure function in a conservative manner. It’s not enough to get the personnel right. What’s necessary is a complete system overhaul.”

“The president’s plan should be to fundamentally reorient the federal government in a way that hasn’t been done since F.D.R.’s New Deal,” he added.

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Steven Cheung, a spokesman for the Trump campaign, told the Times that Trump has “a bold and transparent agenda for his second term, something no other candidate has done.”

“Voters will know exactly how President Trump will supercharge the economy, bring down inflation, secure the border, protect communities and eradicate the deep state that works against Americans once and for all,” he said.

The Trump team worked on an administrative state plan for some time. Before Trump left office in 2021, he signed an executive order to reclassify federal government employees into Schedule F, which allowed the president to enhance accountability and job performance within the bureaucratic agencies.

President Joe Biden canceled the order when he assumed office.

Months later in 2022, Axios reported Trump hatched a plot to cut about 50,000 administrative state technocrats if reelected.


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