If Trump and GOP Are Serious About Clearing Out the 'Deep State,' Here Is Who Will Help

AP Photo/John Locher

The one thing that Democrats constantly do is underestimate Donald Trump. Even eight years later, they are operating on the notion that Trump is the political novice he was in 2016 and has learned nothing about Washington, D.C., the people who run it, and how it works. Should he be reelected to a second term, they have no idea just how wrong they will be. They will get front-row seats to Donald Trump's education of exactly who they are and how they operate. Republicans have long been shouting that the first order of business for Trump should be to clean out the "deep state," and there is a group trying to do just that.


Tom Jones is a former staffer to former South Carolina Republican Sen. Jim DeMint and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) and worked on Ted Cruz's 2016 presidential campaign. He is currently head of a group called the American Accountability Foundation. Quietly, Jones and his group are looking for possible deep-state culprits by researching the background of certain high-ranking government employees who might be hostile to any Trump administration policies and might work against them. Besides individual backgrounds, things like social media posts are also being examined. They have started with employees at the Department of Homeland Security. The group has secured a $100,000 grant from the Heritage Foundation with the goal of posting 100 names on a website, possibly over the summer, in an attempt to expose those who might be unfriendly to a second Trump administration. Some of the employees in question could be candidates for reclassifications, reassignments, or termination. Jones said bluntly, “We need to understand who these people are and what they do."


Jones's group is also working closely with the Heritage Foundation's "Project 2025," an outline for a new conservative administration. One of the most significant Project 2025 proposals is to reinstate the Trump-era Schedule F policy that would attempt to reclassify tens of thousands of federal employees as political appointees, which would enable mass terminations. This would roll back an April 2024 decree making it harder to fire federal employees. The federal government currently employs about 2.2 million people. Of those, 4,000 are considered political appointees who change from one administration to the next. But many of them are "career professionals." In other words, entrenched lifers.

American Accountability Foundation's current focus is on the highest level civil service employees at the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department, as well as other agencies who might be willing to work against any future Trump plans for immigration and deportations. Primarily those who are ranked as GS-13, GS-14, and GS-15, and those who hold senior executive positions. 


Of course, those who might be the target of the American Accountability Foundation's reform are crying foul. Jacqueline Simon, policy director at the American Federation of Government Employees, rejected the Heritage Foundation's language of rooting out "anti-American bad actors" as "shocking." She added, “It just seems as though their goal is to try to menace federal employees and sow fear." The union is supporting Joe Biden. Skye Perryman, CEO of Democracy Forward, an advocacy group, called it "disturbing" and said it recalled “the darker parts of American history.” She added, “They’re seeking to undermine our democracy. They’re seeking to undermine the way that our government works for people.” Predictably, Jones and his group's efforts were compared to McCarthyism.

Jones dismissed the left-wing pearl-clutching and said “I think it’s important to the next administration to understand who those people are. You don’t get to make policy and then say, ‘Hey, don’t scrutinize me.”’ He added, “We’re looking at, ‘Are there wrong people on the bus right now that are, you know, openly hostile to efforts to secure the southern border?’”

Plans are no doubt underway for the second Trump administration. Those plans rightly include cleaning house of anyone who might be tempted to undermine that administration in any way. Democrats will call it "revenge." But Donald Trump will be able to quote one of his predecessors and say, "I won."


Democracy is where the people rule, via their elected leaders, not where the bureaucrats rule.



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