Former President Donald Trump, who brings to the federal government two impeachments and a criminal indictment, is making reelection commitments, threatening further cuts to regulations—the sort that might allow corporations to get away with even more chaos beyond disasters like the East Palestine, Ohio, train derailment and collapse of Silicon Valley Bank. He also plans to impose some sort of mandatory test on federal employees.
On Friday, Trump made the remarks on a video posted on Twitter. “I will require every federal employee to pass a new civil service test,” Trump began, saying the test will cover all facets of Trump’s vision of a “constitutional, limited government,” including due process, equal protection, free speech, religious liberty, federalism, and—in a matter that both figuratively and literally hits close to home—Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizure.
“I know all about that at Mar-a-Lago, don’t I?” Trump posed, insinuating that criminal investigations into his potential illegal seizing of classified documents—no less any of the other inquiries he faces—are somehow unconstitutional.
Perhaps Trump is right: If they can go after him for taking classified documents, conducting various shady financial and tax-evading schemes, trying to pay hush money to someone he had an affair with, and attempting to overthrow an election, they can go after you too. (This could also be what laws are for.)
“We will put unelected bureaucrats back in their place,” Trump asserted, alluding to his plan to administer a test to the federal workforce to determine whether they will keep their jobs. The idea builds off calls he made last year promising to make “every executive branch employee fireable by the president of the United States.”
Beyond his desire to impose a political test on every government employee, Trump promised to restore the spirit of his previous administration, one that held “for every one new regulation, two old regulations must be eliminated”—and that he will ask Congress to permanently enshrine this rubric into law.
The legacy of such an administration has been all the more observable as of late. With regard to the more than 1,000 train derailments occurring every year, including the East Palestine disaster, Trump himself deregulated the railroad industry and weakened environmental protection agencies. Contrary to any promises of new jobs, the rail industry’s enabled-by-deregulation pursuit of precision-scheduled railroading has cut jobs and made trains less safe, all in service of corporate profits. In terms of the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank, Trump himself opened the doors to its failure by leading a successful campaign to roll back Obama-era Dodd-Frank regulations.
If nothing else, it’s nice for Trump to be honest about what America can expect if he’s reelected: more train derailments, more risk for economic crash, and more authoritarian measures to seize control over the government.