Trump's Disgraced Body Man Now Leads White House's New Purge - 2020-04-10
Even in the midst of a global pandemic and economic collapse, President Donald Trump is charging ahead on his mission to purge his administration of watchdogs who are tasked with exposing waste, fraud, and abuse. And as he goes about this mission, he's leaning on a 29-year-old loyalist once exiled from the Trump administration for a reported gambling problem, as well as a cadre of conservative firebrands who have fed his paranoia that government careerists are trying to destroy him.
Early this month, Trump fired Michael Atkinson, inspector general of the intelligence community, who had been asked to handle the anonymous whistleblower complaint last year that triggered the president's impeachment at the hands of House Democrats. On Monday, the president used his daily coronavirus press briefing at the White House to take swipes at Christi Grimm, a Department of Health and Human Services inspector general, after being asked about her report documenting the "severe shortages of testing supplies" in certain U.S. hospitals during the coronavirus crisis. On Tuesday, the news broke that Trump had replaced Glenn Fine, an acting Pentagon inspector general who had been assigned to oversee $2 trillion in coronavirus relief money.
Those actions are just the beginning of Trump's plans to remake much of the federal government by appointing Trump-supportive partisans, including to inspector general posts, four administration sources say. And they reflect the degree to which the president's obsession with purging and denigrating his perceived enemies within the government continues to animate him, even as the White House struggles to respond to the coronavirus outbreaks and the increasing number of deaths throughout the country.