To the surprise of very few, the spirit of unity pledged by President Joe Biden throughout the 2020 campaign and also upon his inauguration has quickly given way to the entrenched partisanship Americans have unfortunately come to expect.
Evidence of Biden’s return to business as usual can be seen in the adminstration’s Friday decision to fire Sharon Gustafson, the Trump-appointed general counsel of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) — the first woman to ever serve in the role — after she declined its request for her resignation, as The Hill reported.
On March 2, Gautam Raghavan, deputy director of the White House Presidential Personnel Office, wrote to Gustafson and requested that she resign her position by March 5 at 5 p.m.
Gustafson responded with a letter of her own in which she “respectfully” declined to leave her position, emphasizing that two years remained on her term of appointment, explaining that throughout her career she has advised clients to “not resign under pressure,” and that she intended to “stand in solidarity with them” in following that advice herself.
A mere three hours after issuing her response, Gustafson was informed by Raghavan that, given her refusal to step down, her employment would be terminated effective that same evening, as Fox News noted.
Reaction from Republicans to Gustafson’s firing was quick in coming, with EEOC commissioner Andrea Lucas taking to Twitter to blast the move as “deeply troubling,” and “a break from long-established norms respected by presidents of both parties, an injection of partisanship where it had been absent.” She continued:
In his inaugural address, the President said, “The right to dissent peaceably, within the guardrails of our Republic, is perhaps our nation’s greatest strength.
That, however, does not seem to apply to Sharon Gustafson. And if such a principle does not apply to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission – the very agency charged with preventing and remedying discrimination and retaliation – where else does it apply?
As The Hill also reported, Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) further underscored the hypocrisy of the dismissal, declaring, “This is a pattern. President Biden calls for the end to ‘partisan warfare,’ only to turn around and demand that Senate-confirmed officials resign so he can make room for his left-wing friends.”
Gustafson pointed out in her letter that she was unaware of any prior general counsel at the EEOC having been dismissed at the beginning of a new presidency or having been “fired for being appointed by the wrong political party.
And to think, for the past four years, Americans were meant to believe that Donald Trump was the one laying waste to our government’s supposedly inviolable norms.