The left is deathly afraid of Donald Trump winning another term in the White House; the show trial that has been the Jan. 6 hearings is evidence enough of this. But it is not just his personality and the prospect of his having a bully pulpit that has them checking under the beds at night. The possibility that his Schedule F executive order might return fills them with terror.
The previous president issued an order called Schedule F in 2020, which removed protections for certain types of civil servants – especially those influencing policy – so they could be fired should the commander-in-chief feel they’re working against his agenda. President Joe Biden rescinded the order upon taking office in 2021, but today, congressional Democrats are pushing for legislation that would bar Trump – or any other future president – from having such power.
Democrats Fear the Return of Schedule F
Fear that Trump or another like him may take the 2024 election has driven six Senate Democrats, led by Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA), to introduce a bill that would “secure the civil service” and shield career officials from termination if this or any similar executive order were imposed. Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) is also seeking to add an amendment to this year’s defense bill that would bar a president from reinstituting the policy.
Schedule F has support from several high-profile Republicans, including former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX).
In a piece for the OC Register, author Susan Shelley noted that the executive order would be a check on the administrative state established under President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal policies. “Congress delegated authority to various federal agencies and commissions that exercised rule-making powers along with enforcement powers and quasi-judicial powers. These agencies and commissions developed into governments within the government,” she explained.
Deep State Struggle
Those who support Trump’s measure argue the civil service has become far too partisan. This was a significant point of contention while Trump was in office, and reports revealed that people within his administration were working to undermine his programs. Many of these were holdovers from the Obama era who showed no qualms about playing politics with their positions. Supporters argue that this was yet another example of a “Deep State” influencing government.
Miles Taylor, a staffer under the George W. Bush and Trump administrations, gave the nation a glimpse into how this situation can play out. In 2018, he penned a (formerly) anonymous op-ed for The New York Times titled “I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration,” in which he and “like-minded colleagues” worked together to “thwart parts of [Trump’s] agenda.”
“The dilemma — which he [Trump] does not fully grasp — is that many of the senior officials in his own administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.
“I would know. I am one of them.”
Under Schedule F, people like Taylor could be fired for engaging in this type of conduct. If future presidents can’t remove employees actively attempting to thwart their agendas for ideological purpose, American politics may forever be mired in internecine warfare. But perhaps this is precisely what congressional deep staters want.