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Donald Trump says he will fire government employees who can’t pass exam

By Sarah May
|
April 18, 2023

As former President Donald Trump continues to outline his vision for a potential second term in office, he has made headlines with a pledge to oust federal employees who demonstrate an inability to pass a civil service test, as the Daily Mail reports.

Word of Trump's plan came in a video released by his campaign this past weekend that also makes reference to the FBI raid of his Mar-a-Lago home last summer.

Trump floats mandatory exam

In explaining his idea, Trump declared, “I will require every federal employee to pass a new civil service test, demonstrating an understanding of our constitutional limited government.”

Trump noted that workers would need to correctly answer questions related to “due process rights, equal protection, free speech [and] religious liberty.”

Perhaps referencing the aforementioned Mar-a-Lago-raid, Trump added that federal employees would need to prove knowledge of “the Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable seizure and search.”

The overarching purpose of the scheme, according to Trump, would be to “put unelected bureaucrats back in their place,” according to the Mail.

Ten-point plan unveiled

Earlier this year, Trump also articulated a 10-point plan he said was designed to “shatter the deep state” and halt what he referred to as the “weaponization” of the American justice system, as the Washington Examiner reported.

The primary goals of the proposals are, as the Examiner notes, to expose and eradicate corruption, scale back the bureaucracy at the federal level, provide deterrence for leakers inside the government, and, as Trump said, "shatter the deep state and restore the government that is controlled by the people.”

Among his first priorities would be the firing of “rogue bureaucrats” by restoring authority first secured pursuant to a 2020 executive order issued while he was still in office and exercising that prerogative “very aggressively.”

Trump's campaign referenced a study suggesting that federal workers were “fired at a rate of less than one in one thousand per year” in support of the idea that a more critical approach to retention is needed.

Far-reaching proposals

Another facet of Trump's expansive plan involves a detailed analysis of federal agencies aimed at flushing out “corrupt actors” who may be entrenched in the national security hierarchy.

FISA court reforms and the creation of a so-called “Truth and Reconciliation Commission” that would facilitate the publication of “all documents on deep state spying” are additional objectives under Trump's broader scheme.

Another area of needed scrutiny, according to the former president, is the problem of governmental leakers colluding with members of the media to promulgate “false narratives,” with criminal penalties perhaps on the table.

Other reforms eyed by Trump's plan includes moving upwards of 100,000 federal positions out of Washington, D.C., developing an independent auditor for intelligence agencies, enacting congressional term limits, and prohibiting governmental employees from securing jobs at entities they are responsible for regulating.

Schedule F concerns

None of the aforementioned ideas represent the first time Trump has struck fear in the hearts of the federal workforce, as the former president sparked a firestorm last summer when news emerged that some of his former aides were formulating a plan to revive and broaden “Schedule F,” shorthand for an executive order issued in the days prior to the 2020 presidential election, as Axios reported.

Though subsequently reversed by the Biden administration, the order created a new federal employment category whereby civil servants in roles impacting policy would lose traditional employment protections and could be subject to dismissal without previously enjoyed modes of recourse.

Max Stier of the Partnership for Public Service has warned that, among other problems, “forcing federal employees to disobey their oath to the Constitution and instead be loyal to an individual president would cause Americans to lose any trust in their government,” and opponents have vowed that any attempt to bring back Schedule F would be aggressively challenged in court.

However, a former Trump official explained that the order itself does no such thing, but simply tells federal employees who engage in “deliberate policy resistance” – which some argue occurred during the last administration – that it is time to seek employment elsewhere and helps, as the former president put it, bring the deep state “to heel.”