There are so many angles to explore in the dysfunctional presidency of Donald J. Trump that we sometimes are overwhelmed into silence by the sheer number and variety of horrors unfolding before us. It is necessary, from time to time, to simply reach into the grab bag and drag one forward.
An essay in the Washington Post, by Joel Clement, a scientist punished by Trump for “whistleblowing,” is definitely worthy of attention.
Until last week, Mr. Clement, was the director of the office of Policy Analysis at the Department of the Interior. He has been reshuffled to the Department’s Office of Natural Resource Revenue where his scientific training will be ignored for financial number-crunching duties.
“…on June 15, I was one of about 50 senior department employees who received letters informing us of involuntary reassignments. Citing a need to ‘improve talent development, mission delivery and collaboration,’ the letter informed me that I was reassigned to an unrelated job in the accounting office that collects royalty checks from fossil fuel companies. “
His “crime?” Mr. Clement dared to opine on the impact of climate change on Alaskan native communities. In other words, he was just doing his job.
Mr. Clement had been vocal to his superiors about the urgency to address health and safety issues for indigenous peoples, stemming from the climate crisis. It was not something that the administration cared to discuss.
“A few days after my reassignment, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke testified before Congress that the department would use reassignments as part of its effort to eliminate employees; the only reasonable inference from that testimony is that he expects people to quit in response to undesirable transfers.”
Mr. Clement does not intend to quit. He has chosen instead to become a whistleblower to alert fellow citizens to the gross and deliberate misuse of human resources that this represents.
All those unfilled administration positions we keep hearing about? They are just a symptom of the systemic collapse that is already underway, engineered by Steve Bannon and enabled by the Know-Nothing President, Donald J. Trump.