Did Trump just call for "purges" of the government?

Bruce Maples (bruceinlouisville@gmail.com)
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In his SOTU last night, Pres. Trump included this sentence:

“Tonight, I call on Congress to empower every cabinet secretary with the authority to reward good workers and to remove federal employees who undermine the public trust or fail the American people.”

Give every cabinet secretary the power to remove employees at will. In other words, carry out purges within the government.

There’s a reason we have laws protecting career civil service employees. Because at one time, we didn’t, and it was a spoils system. People voted for certain people in elections not because they believed that person was the most qualified, but simply to keep their job.

But this goes beyond even that. The spoils system was limited, to some extent, to the turnover right after an election. Trump’s call is broader, and more sinister. He wants his cabinet to be able to get rid of anyone that disagrees with them, at any time.

Is this the first step to an Enabling Act? Or is Trump just throwing out a random idea (which I have no trouble believing he would do)? Or, did this come from somewhere else — like the Koch brothers?

There is a Doomsday Clock that measures how close we are to destruction by nuclear weapons. Perhaps we in the United States need an Autocracy Clock, to measure how close we are to losing the rule of law. If we had one, that call moved the hands one tick closer to midnight.

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