In the midst of a contested election, the Trump administration suddenly fired the heads of agencies that oversee the nuclear weapons stockpile, as well as electricity and natural gas regulation and overseas aid. It is not clear why these officials were pushed out of their roles, but officials with the Trump administration say that it doesn't have anything to do with the election.
Lisa Gordon-Hagerty, the administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration, and the first woman to oversee the agency in charge of the nuclear stockpile, was required to resign on Friday.
She did not give a reason for her departure, but she has previously had disagreements with members of the Trump administration, especially Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette, who she clashed with about budgetary issues on a routine basis. Gordon-Hagerty and other members of the NNSA believed that Brouillette was out to dismantle the agency.
“As Administrator, Ms. Gordon-Hagerty oversaw the modernization of NNSA’s infrastructure and the strengthening of its world-class workforce,” the department said in its statement. “She also made significant strides in improving NNSA governance and management and demonstrated a sincere dedication to the 50,000 men and women serving in the national security workforce.”
Why would Trump dump 3 agency leaders in the wake of the election?
The most concerning is Lisa Gordon-Hagerty, the administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration, in charge of the nuclear stockpile, who he fired today.
— Lisa ML 🐾🌊📎🆘✊🏿🌈🗽🇺🇸🌎WTP💙GTC 😻DS (@LMLohrey) November 7, 2020
Republican Senator Jim Inhofe spoke out in defense of Gordon-Hagerty, saying that she is being forced out of office.
“That the Secretary of Energy effectively demanded her resignation during this time of uncertainty demonstrates he doesn’t know what he’s doing in national security matters and shows a complete lack of respect for the semi-autonomous nature of NNSA,” Inhofe said in a statement.
Inhofe called Gordon-Hagerty “an exemplary public servant and remarkable leader.”
Trump admin head of the National Nuclear Security Administration, the federal agency responsible the NUCLEAR WEAPONS program, resigns provoking criticism from GOP chairman of Senate Armed Services Committee pic.twitter.com/1Vw1mNZ4Zx
— Eric Lipton (@EricLiptonNYT) November 7, 2020
Gordon-Hagerty was appointed by Trump as Under Secretary of Energy for Nuclear Security and Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration, confirmed by the US Senate on February 15th of 2018, and was sworn in on February 22, 2018. In September of 2019, she was named as one of five finalists for the National Security Advisor after the resignation of John Bolton, although the position ultimately went to Robert C. O'Brien.
Meanwhile, two other high ranking officials were fired this week. Bonnie Glick, deputy administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development was replaced by acting Administrator John Barsa, and Neil Chatterjee, chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission was also replaced.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper could also be losing his job any day now, according to inside sources. Josh Rogin of the Washington Post reported that multiple sources told him Esper could be fired as early as this week. The same goes for FBI Director Christopher Wray and CIA Director Gina Haspel, who have found themselves in opposition to Trump over his actions in office.
President Donald Trump still has a short amount of time until Joe Biden is inaugurated, but it is possible that more surprises could be coming if Trump decides to settle the score with other rivals or otherwise make a mess on the way out.