Report: Trump planning massive second-term overhaul of federal bureaucracy

Though he has yet to officially announce whether he intends to seek a second term in the White House, former President Donald Trump is reportedly making plans for an all-out assault on the excesses of swampy D.C. bureaucracy he blames for many of the country’s troubles, in the event he does secure re-election in 2024.

Details of Trump’s supposed agenda to overhaul the federal government emerged last week in an Axios report that was said to have drawn upon extensive interviews with upwards of two dozen insiders and others involved in behind-the-scenes planning.

Big plans afoot

According to the outlet, Trump’s allies and members of his inner circle are formulating plans to “drain the swamp” in Washington’s bureaucratic establishment and fill agencies with young staffers committed to fulfilling the former president’s America First vision for the nation.

The manner in which this initiative would be pursued, as Axios noted, would largely be through the use of Schedule F, an executive order issued during the first Trump administration, but which was swiftly rescinded once President Joe Biden took office in 2021.

As the Daily Caller notes, the purpose of Schedule F was to create a new category of federal employees occupying “[p]ositions of a confidential, policy-determining, policy-making, or policy-advocating character” and who would be subject to firing when changes in presidential administrations occur.

Upwards of 50,000 federal employees could ultimately fall under the Schedule F designation, according to the outlet, a fact which would give Trump the authority to dismiss and replace a host of potentially hostile bureaucrats as soon as his second term began, with possible firings extending to the Department of State, the FBI, and the Pentagon.

New inner circle

The apparent motivation behind the reported strategy is to provide a foundation for a second administration that would sidestep many of the personnel pitfalls that marked the first and to front-load government agency staffing with ideologically sympathetic individuals.

Russ Vought, President of the Center for Renewing America and former Trump administration official, explained to Axios, “We are consciously bringing on the toughest and most courageous fighters with the know-how and credibility to crush the deep state.”

Stephen Miller, another Trump administration alum, launched America First Legal in order to initiate court battles against Biden policies, and Axios noted that the organization is also building a team of attorneys capable of filling general counsel roles should the former president return to power after the 2024 election.

Also working to identify and recruit Trump-aligned staffers for potential jobs in a new administration is American Moment, whose president, Saurabh Sharma, explained, “It’s going to take principled and effective leadership at the top of the presidential personnel office to import Schedule F and make sure that the next conservative president can fill the administration with people they need.”

Waiting for word

While there has been much discussion in recent days about Schedule F and a possible reshuffling of the federal bureaucracy in light of the Axios report, it is not yet a certainty that Trump will even mount another presidential campaign – though he has said that he has already made up his mind on the question and many observers, including Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Rich Lowry of National Review have opined that he will indeed run.

As such, the scuttlebutt about a possible revival of Schedule F has Democrats and establishment bureaucrats shaking in their boots already, particularly in light of Trump’s pledge earlier this year at one of his signature rallies that “[w]e will pass critical reforms making every executive branch employee fireable by the president of the United States” and in which he also declared, “[t]he deep state must and will be brought to heel.”

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