In the middle of a devastating pandemic and a searing economic crisis, the White House has an urgent question for its colleagues across the administration: Are you loyal enough to President Donald Trump?
The White House’s presidential personnel office is conducting one-on-one interviews with health officials and hundreds of other political appointees across federal agencies, an exercise some of the subjects have called “loyalty tests” to root out threats of leaks and other potentially subversive acts just months before the presidential election, according to interviews with 15 current and former senior administration officials.
The interviews are being arranged with officials across a wide range of departments including Health and Human Services, Defense, Treasury, Labor and Commerce and include the top tier of Trump aides: Senate-confirmed appointees. Officials are expected to detail their career goals and thoughts on current policies, said more than a dozen people across the administration with knowledge of the meetings.
White House officials have said the interviews are a necessary exercise to determine who would be willing to serve in a second term if President Donald Trump is reelected. But officials summoned for the interviews say the exercise is distracting from numerous policy priorities, like working to fight the pandemic, revitalizing the economy or overhauling regulation, and instead reflect the White House’s conviction that a “deep state” is working to undermine the president.
It’s “an exercise in ferreting out people who are perceived as not Trump enough,” said one person briefed on the meetings.
“If they’re spending time trying to hunt down leakers, that’s time they’re taking away from advancing an agenda,” said a former senior administration official who’s spoken with officials undergoing the interviews. “And that’s irresponsible.”
Source: Politico. for the rest of the story