Maybe Donald Trump’s siege against his enemies will be referred to as the Endless Night of Long Knives, because it’s been going on for months, since the senate impeachment vote convinced him that it was his right to be drunk with vainglory and purge the government of either the insufficiently loyal, or former loyalists who managed to annoy him by worsening his situation with their own incompetence. Mick Mulvaney comes to mind. But Trump has gone one step further. Friday he found the perfect minion to fire, a watchdog at HHS who upset him by filing a report last month which highlighted supply shortages and testing delays at hospitals. This is the perfect termination, insofar as it combines Trump’s need to purge the disloyal and cover his incompetence regarding the coronavirus response. Nothing like killing two birds with one stone. The Orange Overlord must be very pleased. New York Times:
The White House waited until after business hours to announce the nomination of a new inspector general for the department who, if confirmed, would take over for Christi A. Grimm, the principal deputy inspector general who was publicly assailed by the president at a news briefing three weeks ago. […]
Her report, released last month and based on extensive interviews with hospitals around the country, identified critical shortages of supplies, revealing that hundreds of medical centers were struggling to obtain test kits, protective gear for staff members and ventilators. Mr. Trump was embarrassed by the report at a time he was already under fire for playing down the threat of the virus and not acting quickly enough to ramp up testing and provide equipment to doctors and nurses.
“It’s just wrong,” the president said when asked about the report on April 6. “Did I hear the word ‘inspector general’? Really? It’s wrong. And they’ll talk to you about it. It’s wrong.” He then sought to find out who wrote the report. “Where did he come from, the inspector general? What’s his name? No, what’s his name? What’s his name?”
And of course, Trump found a reason to blame the “negative” report on the work of partisan enemies and labeled Grimm as such. She had worked for Obama, and so Trump went off on that. The fact that she was a career official who had worked in the Clinton and Bush administrations before working for Obama, was not considered. Actually, as warped as Trump is, hating both Democrats and “Bushies” the poor woman couldn’t win anyway, and Trump went after her in his inimitable style.
Mr. Trump was undaunted and attacked her on Twitter. “Why didn’t the I.G., who spent 8 years with the Obama Administration (Did she Report on the failed H1N1 Swine Flu debacle where 17,000 people died?), want to talk to the Admirals, Generals, V.P. & others in charge, before doing her report,” he wrote, mischaracterizing the government’s generally praised response to the 2009 epidemic that actually killed about 12,000 in the United States. “Another Fake Dossier!”
Trump has nominated Jason C. Weida, an assistant U.S. attorney in Boston to succeed Grimm.
The nomination was the latest effort by Mr. Trump against watchdog offices around his administration that have defied him. In recent weeks, he fired an inspector general involved in the inquiry that led to the president’s impeachment, nominated a White House aide to another key inspector general post overseeing virus relief spending and moved to block still another inspector general from taking over.
And the beat goes on. While Trump’s at it, he’s chosen Lt. Gen. Keith W. Dayton, as a replacement for Marie Yovanovich. Dayton was appointed as a senior defense adviser to Ukraine by Jim Mattis, so at least he’s not as disastrous as a lot of Trump’s picks. Maybe Trump will ask him to trash Biden, who knows? It is just another mind boggling 24 hours in Trumptopia, just another career trashed, because Trump had a score to settle. The purging started early on, with Preet Bharara and the 40 attorneys general going down in flames in a single week. That set the tone and it’s not going to get any better, now that Trump is cornered like a rat. The only way to survive as a public servant these days is as a Trump sycophant, take it or leave it.