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Biden fires Trump official at EEOC who refused to resign

General counsel wrote a letter to the White House ‘respectfully’ declining to resign before she was eventually removed from her post

Chris Riotta
New York
Saturday 06 March 2021 20:26 GMT
Related: Biden directs every state to vaccinate all teachers by end of March to reopen schools
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An appointee of former President Donald Trump was fired by the White House on Friday after she refused to resign willingly, saying she “respectfully” declined President Joe Biden’s request to appoint his own general counsel at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Sharon Gustafon was fired after she was told to step down from the post so the new president could select his own appointee at the EEOC, but refused and indicated her intention to remain until the end of her four-year tenure. 

Ms Gustafon, who was appointed by My Trump in 2018 and had two years left in her term with the EEOC, was removed from her role on Friday.

Presidents have the right to appoint their own general counsel to support the EEOC, though conservative groups still slammed the firing and suggested the move was in contrast to Mr Biden’s calls for unity.

The firing was condemned by Andrea Lucas, a Republican-appointed commissioner to the EEOC, who wrote in a tweet: “I find the action taken today by the White House against our independent agency to be deeply troubling, a break from long-established norms respected by presidents of both parties, an injection of partisanship where it had been absent, and telling evidence of what ‘unity’ actually means to this President and his Administration.”

In a letter rejecting the White House request to step down from her post, Ms Gustafon wrote: “I would like to continue my work on the EEOC’s mission to prevent and remedy illegal employment discrimination,”

“When my term ends and the time comes for my eventual successor to assume the position of General Counsel of the EEOC, it would be my great pleasure to then cooperate and facilitate an orderly transition,” she wrote. 

Of course, the ending came earlier than Ms Gustafon may have expected when she was fired and ordered to step down on Friday. The White House did not immediately return a request for comment. 

Ms Gustafon’s appointment to the EEOC under the previous administration drew backlash over comments she made surrounding LGBTQ employees.

The Biden administration has forced out scores of previous appointees at federal agencies, from the State Department to the EEOC, as the new administration cleared the way to hire its own staff and advisers. 

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