According to a new report, Donald Trump has once again skirted the traditional processes of this nation’s government to install an individual into an official position despite the fact that they’re clearly unfit for the job.
Last week, lawmakers in this country suddenly canceled the confirmation hearing for former state government official and regular on Fox News, Retired Army Brig. Gen. Anthony Tata, who was under consideration for the position of undersecretary of defense for policy, which requires confirmation by the Senate.
Lawmakers came to the sudden decision due to resurfaced tweets from Tata, in which he referred to former President Barack Obama as a “terrorist leader” and called Islam the “most oppressive violent religion I know of,” in addition to various other offensive statements — all of which have now been deleted and Tata says he regrets.
However, since the Senate’s decision to cancel Tata’s confirmation, Trump has sidestepped Congress altogether by appointing him to a senior Department of Defense post on a temporary basis that didn’t require the Senate’s approval.
Instead, he has been designated as the official ‘performing the duties of’the deputy undersecretary of defense policy. The position Tata will assume is one that James H. Anderson was confirmed for in June; Anderson has also been serving as acting undersecretary of defense policy and will remain in that post.
On Sunday Senate Armed Services Committee chair, Sen. Jim Inhofe, criticized Trump’s decision, saying, “If President Trump’s goal is to hollow out, politicize, and undermine the Pentagon the way he has the State Department and Intelligence Community, then mission accomplished. This is an offensive, destabilizing move.”
He went on to call Trump’s stunt “an insult to our troops, professionals at the Pentagon, the Senate, and the American people.”
The White House has unsurprisingly defended Trump’s decision to essentially spit in the face of the Senate’s decision.
Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Adam Smith, accused the Trump administration of making an end-run around Congress.
Smith’s statement reads:
If an appointee cannot gain the support of the Senate, as is clearly the case with Tata, then the President should not put that person into an identical temporary role. This evasion of scrutiny makes our government less accountable and prioritizes loyalty over competence.
The vacancies at the Department of Defense, which have now hit record highs under the Trump administration, should be filled through the existing nomination and confirmation process. If confirmations cannot be completed, the President must find new, qualified people who can win the support of the Senate.
You can read the full report from Politico here.
Featured image via Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead
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