Donald Trump continues his march to autocracy, planning his largest purge of government officials yet. And he’s getting outside help in assembling his enemies list, with a conservative activist network headed by Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, providing a stream of memos detailing how some administration officials have been insufficiently loyal to Trump.
The pieces are being put in place. Trump is getting ready to push the purge with a new head of presidential personnel—his former body man, Johnny McEntee, who was fired by then-White House chief of staff John Kelly in 2018. And Groundswell, the Ginni Thomas group, helped push former national security adviser H.R. McMaster out of office, and is not remotely done, Axios reports.
More recently, a memo targeted Jessie Liu, the former U.S. attorney for Washington, D.C., who was nominated for a Treasury Department position only to have the nomination pulled. Liu’s offenses against Trump included signing off on a sentencing filing asking for jail time for former national security adviser Michael Flynn and not having former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe indicted—in other words, Liu dared to prosecute a former Trump official whom Trump didn’t want prosecuted and didn’t prosecute one whom Trump did want prosecuted.
That’s not the only such memo going after a specific Trump appointee—whether potential or already on the job—and pushing Trump to purge those who aren’t fully on board with Trump’s corruption and narcissism.
Given that Trump’s moods change constantly and his actions offend anyone with even a teeny shred of integrity, that could leave a lot of jobs to fill. Never fear, though: Groundswell has another list of appropriately Trumpy potential appointees ready to go. That list includes former Sheriff David Clarke for a top Homeland Security job, and Fox News’ favorite former Secret Service officer, Dan Bongino, for something in Homeland Security or counterterrorism.
Donald Trump is personally corrupt and dedicated to abuse of power. But he’s not operating alone—if he was, Republicans would have put limits on him long ago. Groundswell—a group that, it cannot be emphasized enough, is headed by the wife of a Supreme Court justice—shows that Republicans aren’t just failing to rein Trump in; they’re encouraging him to make the government more ruthlessly partisan, to place loyalty above competence at every turn.