We’ve known since Joe Biden was officially elected that he’d possibly be running into quite a bit of trouble when it came to getting his various policies and confirmations through the Senate — that’s why the Senate win in Georgia was so crucial to the success of this presidency. However, it seems that even though the Senate issue has been diverted, Biden may be running into more than a little trouble inside his own White House, thanks to one Trump-loyalist who still has a job on the inside.
According to a new report from POLITICO, President Biden has inherited a broken and exhausted White House Office of Management and Budget that may cause him more than a few problems. The report notes that Trump spent his term running off many career staffers in the budget office and replacing them with his own loyalists, and those who were left are exhausted and worn down from the trauma and chaos of the past four years.
One former budget office official who’s worked under both Republican and Democratic presidents said, “You’ve got a staff that is tired. They’ve been running for four years and running in directions that they don’t actually believe in. I don’t know that they’ll have the energy needed to respond in the way that the Biden administration would traditionally expect an OMB to respond.”
It wasn’t uncommon for Trump and his people to push the budgets office into uncharted and sketchy waters — such as the extortion scheme we saw with Ukraine that earned Donald his first impeachment — and he spent his term stripping civil servants of their authority and worker protections to allow him the control of government agencies that he was looking for.
“Instead of OMB being a resource for the White House,” the former OMB insider said, “[the Trump administration] turned OMB into a tool of the White House, and that’s a very different thing. That’s a dangerous thing.”
Former President Barack Obama’s budget director, Shaun Donovan, said “the damage is deep and wide” inside the budget office, which she noted could cause a lot of trouble with Biden’s efforts to get the virus under control with his early efforts, in addition to causing issues with his plans regarding campaign promises on infrastructure and climate change.
“I’ve seen these moments over and over again, and there is no comparison,” Donovan explained. “This is easily the most perilous and has the deepest damage to be repaired.”