Sen. Tom Carper, D-Delaware, a senior member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, released a statement May 16 regarding President Donald Trump’s abrupt dismissal of State Department Inspector General Steve Linick.
“You’d be forgiven for missing the late-night Friday firing, but, yet again, President Trump has unceremoniously removed a sitting inspector general without cause,” said Carper. “Mr. Linick is now the fourth inspector general that President Trump has removed in the middle of an unprecedented pandemic. This firing is part of President Trump’s pattern of retaliation against those who are not loyal enough to him or who dare to criticize him or his administration. These removals are designed to place the president — and those around him — above the law, and it is certainly cause for alarm.”
“We know that President Trump does not want to be held accountable — by Congress, by nonpartisan watchdogs across our government, by reporters or by the American people,” said Carper. “We have seen this pattern before, and it no longer comes as a surprise. What is surprising, though, is the complete lack of outrage from so many who once championed IG protections. Just four years ago, there was robust, bipartisan support in Congress for ensuring that we had strong, qualified IGs across our government who could identify failures and root out waste, fraud and abuse. During the Obama administration, my colleagues on the other side of the aisle routinely called for increased transparency and were good partners as we sought to permanently fill these crucial watchdog positions. Unfortunately, many of those colleagues have been silent as President Trump has unceremoniously dismissed career officials without cause and left unprecedented vacancies across our government.”
“The only good news here is that there is still an opportunity for my colleagues to speak up and right this wrong,” said Carper. “While President Trump notified Congress of his intent to fire Mr. Linick last night, he has not fired him yet. The law requires that the president give Congress 30-days advance notice so that a co-equal branch of government requests more information and prevents an undue firing. All members, at the very least, should question this decision and want to ensure that qualified men and women are not being dismissed from these important positions for partisan or personal reasons.”
“Congress needs to do a better job supporting our inspectors general when this president — or any president — takes retaliatory actions against them without cause. As I’ve said before, if the Senate is going to be back in session, it would seem to me that looking into these removals and filling these critical oversight positions with qualified individuals should be among our top priorities.”