Between the Trump transition team’s infighting, incompetence, and high-profile resignations, any decisions that signaled even a modicum of stability for the country would come as a relief at this point. Unfortunately, the nascent Trump Administration isn’t inclined to calm anyone’s nerves. According to an official within the Department of Energy, this past Friday, the President-elect’s team instructed the head of the National Nuclear Security Administration and his deputy to clean out their desks when Trump takes office on January 20th.
The NNSA is the $12 billion-a-year agency that “maintains and enhances the safety, security, and effectiveness of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile.” It’s unclear when the two officials will be replaced.
Traditionally, all political appointees of an outgoing presidential administration turn in resignation letters effective on noon of inauguration day, January 20. But appointees in key positions—like the people who make sure our nukes work—are often asked to stay on in their roles until a replacement can be found and confirmed by the Senate, helping ensure a smooth transition and allowing our government to continue functioning. In fact, for the entirety of Obama’s first term and into part of his second, the NNSA Administrator remained a Bush appointee.
Trump, however, appears determined to immediately push out everyone who was appointed by Obama, regardless of whether or not he has anyone in line for the job. Or, as our source put it: “It’s a shocking disregard for process and continuity of government.”
This is reassuring:
The source later added, “I’m more and more coming around to the idea that we’re so very very fucked.”
As is this:
Rosner noted that the Obama Administration has already essentially begun rebuilding the nuclear program, making Trump’s promised expansion “a perfect example of Trump basically being clueless.”
“He didn’t understand that we have a refurbishment program,” Rosner said. “He didn’t understand that, under Obama, that we’d rebuilt the entire production complex. So exactly what he would mean by ‘strengthening the nuclear program,’ it’s a bit of a mystery. I don’t know what he’s talking about. We’ve done it already.”
So did Trump simply not realize that a considerable portion of the Department of Energy is dedicated to building and protecting our nuclear arsenal? That would certainly explain his appointment of Rick Perry as secretary, and why he just left the agency responsible for safeguarding our nuclear infrastructure without any leadership for the foreseeable future. Neither Trump nor the NNSA have returned our requests for comment.
I had planned on putting raised garden beds in the back yard. I didn’t realize they would double as the secret passage into my bomb shelter.