New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie offered up a worrying glimpse on Tuesday of what a Trump presidency might look like. Before taking the convention stage, Christie told a closed-door donor meeting that Trump is drawing up plans to purge government officials hired or appointed by Obama. The plan includes asking a potentially Republican-held Congress to help by easing laws to make it easier to fire public workers.
Reuters got hold of an audio recording of the donor session. Here’s more of what Christie, the head of Trump’s White House transition team, had to say:
“It’s called burrowing,” Christie said. “You take them from the political appointee side into the civil service side, in order to try to set up … roadblocks for your successor, kind of like when all the Clinton people took all the Ws off the keyboard when George Bush was coming into the White House.” “One of the things I have suggested to Donald is that we have to immediately ask the Republican Congress to change the civil service laws. Because if they do, it will make it a lot easier to fire those people,” Christie said.
It’s not totally clear if Chris Christie can see the difference between firing civil servants and jacking the W key from government computers. One is a bad joke; the other is a hostile takeover. It’s like comparing apples and hand grenades. Obviously, some appointees come and go with a new president, and that makes complete sense—you need your people in key positions—but what Christie is proposing resembles more of a witch hunt where federal staffers will be judged by their loyalty to the regime.