The #Resist Movement in the Federal Government

Posted: Jan 25, 2018 1:45 PM
The #Resist Movement in the Federal Government

The #Resist movement is strong within the federal government. Ever since Donald Trump became president, his policies - or frankly, just his presence - has led government workers to stage public protests or quietly resign. Here is a list of some those martyrs, so to speak.

Sally Yates - DOJ

One of the loudest Trump resistors was Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, who refused to enforce the president's travel ban last year on seven Muslim-majority countries. Not only did she believe the executive order was unconstitutional, she believed it was neither "wise nor just."

While some heralded her a hero for standing up to the president, outlets like Politico criticized her choice to become a political martyr, instead of sharing her concerns with Trump privately. Her duty was supposed to come first.

Her objection, instead, was that the order was unwise or unjust. These may be valid points for a public citizen to raise, but the attorney general has a statutory duty to “[r]epresent the United States in legal matters generally,” regardless of her personal proclivities.

Citing the Constitution, Trump had every right to fire Yates, the editors continue.

U.S. diplomats had their own qualms about the travel ban, some of whom signed a "dissent" memo condemning the order. “We are better than this ban,” the memo read.

Leandra English - CFPB

The battle for power at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was pretty entertaining. Trump had tapped Office of Management and Budget Office Director Mick Mulvaney to take over the responsibility of CFPB director, but Leandra English defended what she believed was her rightful territory. English was the deputy director of the agency who had been appointed as director by outgoing chief Richard Cordray. Trump didn't like that decision, so he took matters into his own hands and said Mulvaney was his man. He had the authority to do so.

English was so determined to retain authority that she filed a lawsuit and emailed staffers with the title "acting director," essentially telling them to ignore Mulvaney's directives.

Her attempted coup ultimately failed, as a U.S. District Court judge in Washington sided with Trump and allowed him to proceed with Mulvaney's appointment. His authority from the Federal Vacancies Act trumped the provisions in the Dodd Frank Act, the judge concluded.

Peter Strzok - FBI

Peter Strzok and his string of text messages to his mistress Lisa Page, an FBI lawyer, have displayed the level of contempt the FBI agent had for the president. Trump is an "idiot," Strzok wrote. The messages were especially problematic considering he participated in both the Hillary Clinton email investigation and the special counsel investigation over Russian collusion. He was removed from the latter once the texts were discovered.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has vowed to do everything in his power to recover the five months’ worth of texts that are missing.

EPA employees 

The rebellion at the EPA is a bit more muted than at other agencies. Instead of staging public protests, hundreds of Obama-era employees have quietly resigned since Trump appointed Scott Pruitt, a man environmentalists have scathingly labeled a "climate skeptic," as the agency's administrator. Over 700 EPA personnel have either retired, quit, or taken voluntary buyouts since he took over, some doing so in "disgust."

"Having Scott Pruitt in charge of the US Environmental Protection Agency is like putting an arsonist in charge of fighting fires," according to Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club.

How many other government employees are staging their own protests? Is this good for the nation?

In other words, are they right to place their conscience over country?