Trump has yet to formally replace Nielsen as DHS Secretary. courtesy Wikipedia

Accumulation of executive branch vacancies bad for stability

The unruliness of this administration leaves it open for more dangerous mistakes.

If you were the top level politician in an ostensibly democratic nation, would you prefer a bureaucratic workforce that focuses on security or flexibility? Do you hire the most qualified, patient person or the hotshot that will take the job? Do you create a slow but well-oiled machine or give yourself room to maneuver people where they are needed most?

United States President Donald Trump seems to have chosen the latter in all of these statements, preferring to keep positions in his government open in order to facilitate higher productivity. However his reasoning behind letting these posts remain empty remains logically questionable, and Trump has continuously dragged his heels on filling or refilling these jobs.This reticence leaves the reigns of several high priority government agencies out of the hands of a properly vetted leader, such as in the case of the Department of Homeland Security. After three different people going through the revolving door, the man currently acting as secretary, Kevin McAleenan, has chosen to resign without indicating a successor. Interestingly, McAleenan, as an interim secretary, was not approved by the Senate, so he was never truly the DHS Secretary, but he did have control over the entire federal department. That control includes all of the powers of a secretary, but tradition states he should not make any large decisions while in office without special consideration. However, his status as interim secretary also means he did not have to endure the rigorous questioning brought on by the Senate hearings necessary for a full-fledged secretary.

Because the DHS has 240,000 employees and controls facets of the U.S. like cyber-security, large scale prostitution, child-kidnappings and like high crimes, Senate approval prevents underqualified individuals from inhabiting the position. However, the rules on who can be acting secretary are far looser, normally relying only on the consent of the president. With the DHS move, there are rumors floating around that someone has politicked their way into removing McAleenan as acting secretary in order to slide someone in a different senior position sideways into the acting-secretary role. Of course, Trump is too … Trump-ish to pay attention to the inner workings of one of his departments (he trusts in his people to do the work for him), so it has to be someone with a vested interest in one of the DHS’s responsibilities. OK, let’s take a look: Terrorism, makes sense. Natural disasters, yeah they were at Katrina. The National Guard is related to them, which is neat. Oh, wait. Election security falls under their oversight.

Hmm. Interesting.

I am not saying that these positions are being manipulated by foreign governments in order to further their own agenda, but that certainly is a possibility. Simply put, Trump’s government is either unbearable to work for, full of under qualified officials, lacks leadership, easily infested with spies or all of the above. Is anyone surprised by the ineffectual nature of Trump’s government? With over a thousand days of empty high level positions, his government is a ramshackle facade of a regime that looks more like I had built it during one of my depressive bouts than a proud, patriotic ideal that one should aspire to work for. Ah, ran out of glue, I’ll just duct tape it. Oh, another one of my cabinet members resigned, well, the Senate will just shovel someone that they like into it. Man, my Halloween costume looks and feels kinda garbage, ehh, just put more wool in it. Well, it seems that someone else has resigned because I was being a toolbag to them, time to press gang another Republican into the position.

Like my attempts at jokes and friendships, Trump’s government is weak and easily manipulated by those with disparate ideas. That thing about the Senate getting so tired and forcing someone they actually kind of like into the position? No joke. Real thing that happened. She, Bush government veteran Kirstjen Nielsen, was also the person (one of the people) that was so hated by Trump that she resigned rather than work for him any longer.

That allusion to spies? That’s not too far from fiction. A government like this is perfect for foreign agents to infiltrate. With all of the shuffling around, strange promotions are hidden by all of the other chaos going on. If one is not qualified for their role, it can be easily explained away because no one else would take the job. It’s a rather frightening thought, considering that the DHS is not the only department in Trump’s government with high turnover. I focused on the high level stuff, but there are thousands of employees rotating in and out of Trump’s regime, and any one of them could be compromised by a foreign country. A coup could be slowly happening as you read this, and we would be none the wiser, because it would be disguised by the strange eccentricities of Trump’s management techniques and waved off as more Russian interference conspiracy theories. We live in strange times, and often I wonder if I’m too paranoid or not paranoid enough. Thinking about this, the possibilities and potential ruination it could cause, scares me.

Post Author: Adam Walsh