President Trump is facing criticism from all corners for the latest firing of State Department Inspector General Linick.
The firing of Linick is not the first time the president used his executive powers to fire a government watchdog. Since his acquittal on impeachment charges in the Senate, Trump has fired multiple inspector generals. Linick is the most recent addition to the list.
Trump’s decision to fire Linick came to light late on Friday night. This is not the first time Trump has fired someone late in the night. Many in the media view the habit of late-firings as a way to cushion the impact of media coverage and criticism.
Who is calling out Trump for Firing Linick?
Democrats are naturally outraged by another one of Trump’s firing on a government watchdog. During an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, Senator Bob Menendez called the firing a ‘Friday Night Massacre’.
Calling Trump’s firing of Linick ‘outrageous’, the senator said the work of inspector generals was necessary to ensure agencies in government work appropriately. He also said he is ‘looking at legislation’ to ensure the executive office cannot fire government watchdogs without appropriate cause.
Earlier, Trump said he fired Linick because he couldn’t trust him. The Senator from New York blasted this explanation, calling it unacceptable. He went on to add that Trump fired Linick because he doesn’t want any transparency and seeks to divert attention from his mismanagement of the pandemic.
Republicans are not coming out all-guns-blazing defending the president either. Most of them appear quiet on the issue. However, some of them are expressing their concern at Trump firing Linick.
Senator Romney called Trump firing Linick a ‘threat to accountable democracy’.
Chuck Grassley, another Republican senator, said Trump’s reasoning for firing Linick lacked substance. He went on to add that a ‘lack of confidence’ wasn’t reason enough to fire an inspector general.
Senator Collins from Maine tweeted the following on Trump firing Linick-
The President has not provided the kind of justification for the removal of IG Linick required by this law.
— Sen. Susan Collins (@SenatorCollins) May 17, 2020
Elliot Engel, New York Representative and House Foreign Affairs Chairman announced the launch of a probe into the firing of Linick.
Ron Johnson, Republican Senator from Wisconsin, recently came out and said the White House did provide a satisfactory explanation to the firing. However, he didn’t expand on the explanation the White House gave him. In reaction to Johnson’s statement, Speaker Pelosi said she had not received any form of justifiable explanation for Trump firing Linick.
The Progressive Take
Trump’s presidency will go down in history partly because he is breaking many protocols and precedents set previously. Trump firing Linick is a cause for concern. However, Democrats who are now expressing outrage must understand some context here.
Trump started firing inspector generals and other government watchdogs left, right and centre only after his impeachment acquittal in the Senate. The entire impeachment episode appears to have helped Trump and emboldened him further. If Democrats were more substantive in their arguments against the president for the last three years, these firings could have been avoided.
(Image Credits: Wikipedia)