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Image: A rainbow appears over the White House as birds fly nearby following a storm in Washington
A rainbow appears over the White House as birds fly nearby following a storm on Nov. 30, 2020.Tom Brenner / Reuters

Biden admin clears out another controversial Trump holdover

The Biden administration's efforts to remove Trump administration holdovers clearly aren't done quite yet.


In August 2018, CNN discovered that a White House speechwriter, Darren Beattie, spoke at a conference alongside well-known white nationalists. He was asked to resign, but he refused, prompting the Republican White House to fire Beattie soon after.

But as regular readers may recall, Team Trump wasn't quite done with him. The week after Trump's 2020 defeat, the outgoing president appointed his former speechwriter to serve as a member of the Commission for the Preservation of America's Heritage Abroad — a commission that helps preserve sites related to the Holocaust.

The news was not well received in some circles. The Anti-Defamation League's Jonathan Greenblatt said, "It is absolutely outrageous that someone who has consorted with racists would even be considered for a position on a commission devoted to preserving Holocaust memorials in Europe. We urge the administration to rescind his appointment immediately."

That did not happen, though as The Washington Post reported, the Biden administration has showed Beattie the door.

In a letter Friday, Gautam Raghavan, deputy director of the White House office of presidential personnel, told Beattie that he must turn in his resignation by the end of business Friday and if he did not, his position would be terminated.... Beattie confirmed the White House's letter in a Friday afternoon tweet, saying the request for his resignation was "better than a Pulitzer [Prize]."

Beattie's ouster came on the heels of his promotion of conspiracy theories surrounding the FBI and the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

His former boss, now at Mar-a-Lago, issued a written statement yesterday praising Beattie for pushing baseless claims about the insurrectionist violence.

As for the bigger picture, I've long been interested in the Biden administration's efforts to remove Trump-era holdovers from assorted government posts, and it's worth emphasizing the degree to which Beattie has company.

Soon after the Democratic president's inauguration, for example, the Biden administration fired Trump appointees at the National Labor Relations Board. A month later, the White House also dismissed Trump appointees serving on Pentagon advisory boards.

In March, the Biden White House fired the Trump-appointed general counsel of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; in April, a high-ranking Trump appointee at the National Security Agency was forced out; in May, the administration ousted four Trump-appointed members of the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts; and in July, the president took steps to fire the Trump-appointed commissioner of the Social Security Administration.

By last fall, the Biden administration also removed Trump allies from military advisory boards. As Friday's news suggests, these efforts are ongoing.