Loyalty purge

Trump’s people have been trying to politically cleanse the State Department, according to a couple of House Democrats.

Two top House Democrats said Thursday that they have proof the Trump administration engaged in an intentional effort to rid the State Department of career officials they suspected of being “disloyal” to President Trump, citing documents a whistleblower gave to the panel.

The ranking Democrats on the House Foreign Affairs and Oversight and Government Reform committees sent a letter to White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly and Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan, writing that they received documents “indicating that high-level officials at the White House and State Department worked with a network of conservative activists to conduct a ‘cleaning’ of employees they believed were not sufficiently ‘supportive’ of President Trump’s agenda.”

That is, the political people tried to clean out the civil service people. It’s not supposed to work that way.

“Over the past year, we have heard many reports of political attacks on career employees at the State Department, but we had not seen evidence of how extensive, blunt, and inappropriate these attacks were until now,” Reps. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.) and Eliot L. Engel (D-N.Y.) wrote in the letter.

Most of the targeted employees had worked on Obama administration initiatives no longer supported in the Trump administration, such as the Iran deal, or were considered insufficiently loyal to Trump and his agenda.

But they’re not supposed to be “loyal” to Trump or anyone else. Their work is not supposed to be contingent on loyalty that way.

In their letter, Cummings and Engel detailed some of the exchanges from the whistleblower’s documents, including emails in which Trump-appointed senior staff referred to certain department employees as “turncoat,” “associated with previous policy,” “Obama/Clinton loyalists not at all supportive of President Trump’s foreign policy agenda,” and “a leaker and a troublemaker.”

The documents they cited also contain communications between administration officials and Trump supporters outside the White House, such as former House speaker Newt Gingrich. In one email Gingrich forwarded to Trump-appointed State Department officials, another booster, David Wurmser, suggested “cleaning house” at the State Department.

That’s not how any of this works.

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