Iowa Republican Steve King made waves in corporate media on Friday when he suggested to MSNBC’s Katy Tur and Joy Reid that all Obama-era appointees should be “purged” from the federal government.
Joy Reid appeared floored by the Congressman’s suggestion and asked for clarification.
“It sounds to me as if you just suggested a purge, a government-wide purge from the White House – directed by the White House – of any staffer who previously worked for the Obama Administration. Is that what you’re suggesting?”
King replied that indeed he was very seriously, and that he believed the “purge” was necessary to prevent further leaks from inside the White House.
“Anyone who’s a political appointment is what I said and I will use the word ‘purge,’ I’ve used it over the past few days and I think it needs to happen. I think it’s a descriptive word that fits well within the English language and I know there are people that will attach extra meaning to that. I don’t know a better word to use.”
King defended his call for a purge by claiming that most administrations do the same thing, including the Obama administration.
“And by the way, Barack Obama did this, he ended all his political appointments, he ended all of his ambassadors, he ended all the assistant US attorneys and there wasn’t hardly a peep out of the Republicans because we expect a president to bring his people into work. And if you don’t do that, then you get this. this kind of undermining that is immobilizing the trump administration, and I don’t know how he overcomes that with the people who are working against him. If they were working for me, I would fire them.”
But King’s statements fall flat when you compare his beliefs to the conduct of the Trump administration. In fact, Trump did purge all Obama-era ambassadors, recalling them back to the states on the day of his inauguration. Despite this, there are still hundreds of positions that Trump has yet to fill in his administration, a lack of action that he says is deliberate – he wants to cut down on government positions altogether.
Separately, as Reid notes, many of the leaks coming from inside the White House appear to be coming from Trump’s trusted staffers as in many instances, the information is being leaked from environments where only Trump-appointees are present.
Still, the idea that a government should rid itself of all political dissidents is alarming. King’s use of the word “purge,” no matter his defense of it, is also alarming. With this nation’s most controversial POTUS at the helm, it is terrifying to imagine the man in the White House surrounded completely by none other than feckless, power-hungry yes-men.
— AM Joy w/Joy Reid (@amjoyshow) March 10, 2017