We heard it from candidate, then nominee, then President-elect Trump throughout his candidacy: “Drain the swamp!” But in the surreal world of Fantasyland-on-the-Potomac, what does it really mean? Does the new President hate all “government” employees? What will the remnants of the swamp look like when President Trump pulls the drain plug?
It will probably look like waterlogged mahogany furniture and even emptier $1000 suits than it has for decades. It is far less likely to look like unfilled JCPenney slacks and shirts and ties or Ross skirts, slacks and blouses. Most of the folks whose desks and chairs are gray painted sheet metal rather than mahogany, the folks at GS/GM-15 and below, are likely to be high and dry and still have jobs.
To the aforementioned occupants of the mahogany furniture: Welcome to the whirlpool.
Some Senior Executive Service officials are likely to be retained in the SES, some will be effectively demoted (though that’s not what it’s called in the SES).
Presidential appointees, the folks who “…serve at the pleasure of the President…,” should have already submitted their resignations. It is customary for appointees to offer to resign when the President who appointed them leaves office.
Some Obama appointees may be reappointed by President Trump. For example, President Trump said during the campaign that he intended to reappoint Preet Bharara to be the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York. Bharara had been appointed to that position in 2009 by President Obama, and he has administered that office without evidence of partisan bias. That is to say, Bharara has gone after many corrupt public officials without any apparent deference to the offender’s party affiliation.
The US Department of Justice Headquarters, often shortened to Main Justice, is one of the large swamps with subsidiary swamps in many of the federal judicial districts. Until the Senate gets around to confirming Senator Sessions to be the new US Attorney General, here is a list of the designates who will continue to oversee Main Justice.
The delay by the US Senate to confirm Sessions will result in some legal actions being delayed since the US Attorneys in each of the federal judicial districts needs to know what the new boss at Main Justice wants before making representations to the federal courts on his behalf.
Other federal agencies have likely filed similar memoranda which identify component heads. It is done for continuity of government operations.