Deep State Meaning under the Trump Administration

Nov 4, 2019

Commentary: Back in the 19th century, federal employees served at the pleasure of the President and could be fired at any time. The result was the spoil system--which meant that jobs were used to support political parties in power.

The Civil Service Reform Act of 1883 and subsequent laws change that situation and hiring was based on merit. Under the Hatch Act of 1939, Civilian employees are not allowed to engage in political activities. Each Agency has a limited number of Political employees that are appointed by the President, but the vast majority are civil servants protected by Civil Service laws.

I spent 30 years as a federal employee under the leadership of both political parties and rose to the top of the federal pay grade. I worked as an Economist and Administrator in the Agriculture Department. My experience and others I interacted with felt the system worked very well. We swore allegiance to the constitution and laws of the U.S.--not to any political party. We did our best to make the government run effectively and efficiently based on policies approved by Congress, President and interpreted by the courts. When Political appointees wanted to ignore established rules and norms, we explained why that wasn’t appropriate. With mutual respect for each position, we worked out a compromise.

Since WW II, this arrangement has worked very well, until the Trump Administration came into power. In foreign relations, environment and economic policies and law enforcement they have turned the government upside down and when they don’t get their way, they blame the deep state—in other words—dedicated civil servants and court rulings. This Administration and their minions call them derogatory names and lack of loyalty to this President. That is not our job—we owe our loyalty to the American people and the Constitution and laws we all operate under.