President Donald Trump has drawn criticism following his late-night firing of Inspector General Steve Linick on Friday. However, some Republicans in Congress have expressed support for the president’s move to oust the former Barack Obama appointee. Among them is Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, who backed Trump during a television appearance on Sunday.
Speaking with host Jake Tapper on CNN‘s State of the Union, Johnson, who serves as chairman for the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, indicated that’s not shedding any tears on Linick’s behalf.
“I’m not crying big crocodile tears over this termination. Let’s put it that way,” he said.
Linick, who was tapped to lead the Office of Inspector General for the State Department in 2013, had reportedly lost the president’s faith in his ability to perform the duties of his job, as reported by The Inquisitr.
Meanwhile, Speaker of The House Nancy Pelosi tweeted her belief that the firing was indicative of a “pattern of retaliation” against those in charge of providing oversight on behalf of the people.
Per CNN, the president has removed several other government watchdogs, including Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson, acting Defense Department Inspector General Glenn Fine, and acting Department of Health and Human Services Inspector General Christi Grimm.
For his part, Johnson stated his belief that Trump acted well within the scope of his office as president in firing Linick, maintaining that independent inspectors general don’t work for Congress and are serving the president as part of the executive branch of the U.S. government.
“In the end, they serve at the pleasure of the president,” he said, adding that the president has “the authority to hire and terminate.”
He also stated that the reason for Linick’s dismissal had been explained to him by the White House, although he declined to elaborate during the interview with Tapper. Johnson also suggested the former inspector general had stonewalled the Senate on an investigation, but would not reveal further details.
Nevertheless, Trump’s recent moves to remove those charged with providing oversight for his administration and the government at large have worried some, including members of his own party. Utah Sen.Mitt Romney tweeted as much on Saturday, condemning Trump’s actions as an affront to the balance of power.
“The firings of multiple Inspectors General is unprecedented; doing so without good cause chills the independence essential to their purpose. It is a threat to accountable democracy and a fissure in the constitutional balance of power.”
Before his ouster, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel said that Linick had opened an investigation into Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, according to CNN.