Trump administration fires three agency heads in wake of US election

‘If, in fact, this was retribution for my independence, I am quite proud of that,’ says Neil Chatterjee

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The Trump administration has fired the heads of three federal agencies, in the wake of the 2020 US election.

The administration fired Lisa Gordon-Hagerty, administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), Bonnie Glick, deputy administrator of the US Agency for International Development, and Neil Chatterjee, chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

Ms Gordon-Hagerty, who was on Donald Trump’s shortlist to replace former national security adviser John Bolton in 2019, was forced to resign on Friday, according to the New York Post. She was the first woman to oversee the National Nuclear Security Administration.

Republican senator Jim Inhofe, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, issued a statement on Friday, in which he said that the energy secretary Dan Brouillette “effectively demanded” Ms Gordon-Hagerty’s resignation.

Mr Inhofe called Ms Gordon-Hagerty “an exemplary public servant and remarkable leader”.

He added that Mr Brouillette’s decision “during this time of uncertainty demonstrates he doesn’t know what he’s doing in national security matters and shows a complete lack of respect for the semi-autonomous nature of NNSA”.

Ms Glick was replaced by the acting administrator John Barsa, who had to step down from his more senior role under the Federal Vacancies Reform Act, which limits how long someone can serve in a role.

While, Mr Chatterjee, who is a former aide to Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, was sacked as chairman, he will remain at the agency as a commissioner, according to NPR.

Mr Chatterjee told the Washington Examiner that he felt that “perhaps” the Trump administration had retaliated against him for his opinions on carbon mitigation, which involves reductions in human emissions of greenhouse gases.

Mr Trump, who has expressed skepticism about the validity of climate change, was very vocal about the FERC pursuing implementing pro-fossil fuel policies, according to the Post.

“I have obviously been out there promoting a conservative, market-based approach to carbon mitigation and sending signals the commission is open to considering a carbon price, and perhaps that led to this,” he said.

“Quite frankly, if, in fact, this was retribution for my independence, I am quite proud of that.”

The White House declined to comment to the Post about the firings and refused to confirm if more should be expected amid Mr Trump’s election defeat.

The Independent has contacted the White House and a representative of Mr Brouillette for comment.

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