(American Prospect) -- Not long ago, in a speech before a crowd of industry executives, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke declared 30 percent of his department’s employees to be disloyal. Given the size of the sprawling department, Zinke was referring to tens of thousands of federal civil servants who were not, in Zinke’s words, “loyal to the flag.” He followed that allegation with assurances that he’d put a plan in place to force the rogues out.
We may be quick to chalk up the secretary’s entirely unsubstantiated claim to the unusual, perhaps unprecedented, “politics as usual” that marks the Trump era. In this uncharted and unsettling political reality, ordinary disagreements (such as those that regularly occur between career bureaucrats and presidential appointees) are transformed into dark and distorted morality plays.
Indeed, Zinke’s claims are hardly isolated. Consider President Trump’s most recent broadside questioning the honesty and integrity of the Justice Department. Consider, too, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s more subtle but no less impactful intimations that he distrusts America’s diplomatic corps.
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