Donald Trump

Then-U.S. President Donald Trump shushed journalists before signing legislation in the Rose Garden at the White House June 5, 2020 in Washington, D.C.

(Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

'Truly Horrifying': Trump Allies Already Making List of Federal Employees to Target

"This is an intimidation tactic to try to menace federal workers and sow fear," said the American Federation of Government Employees.

A right-wing organization allied with presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump and funded by the group behind Project 2025 has reportedly begun assembling a list of federal employees deemed potentially disloyal to the former president, an effort that is drawing comparisons to the McCarthyite crusades of the 1950s.

The American Accountability Foundation (AAF), headed by former Republican Senate staffer Tom Jones, is "digging into the backgrounds, social media posts, and commentary of key high-ranking government employees, starting with the Department of Homeland Security," The Associated Pressreported Monday.

The group, according to AP, is "relying in part on tips from his network of conservative contacts, including workers." AAF, which received a $100,000 grant from the Heritage Foundation—the right-wing group spearheading Project 2025—intends to publish its list online once it's completed.

In its announcement of the $100,000 "innovation prize," the Heritage Foundation said the award would support AAF researchers as they work to "alert Congress, a conservative administration, and the American people to the presence of anti-American bad actors burrowed into the administrative state and ensure appropriate action is taken." Heritage proudly noted that AAF contributed to the smear campaign that derailed Gigi Sohn, President Joe Biden's erstwhile nominee to serve on the Federal Communications Commission.

The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), the nation's largest federal workers union, condemned AAF's initiative as "an intimidation tactic to try to menace federal workers and sow fear."

"Civil servants are required take an oath to the Constitution—not a loyalty test to a president," the union wrote on social media.

During his final weeks in office, Trump signed an executive order establishing an entirely new category of federal employees known as "Schedule F." Before Biden rescinded the order shortly after taking office in 2021, tens of thousands of federal workers were to be reassigned to the new category, under which they would lose employment protections typically afforded to career civil servants—making them far easier to fire.

Trump has made clear that, if he beats Biden in November, he intends to revive the Schedule F order as part of a broader effort to bend the federal government to his will and target his political enemies.

"We will pass critical reforms making every executive branch employee fireable by the president of the United States," Trump said during a rally in South Carolina in March 2022, before he formally launched his 2024 campaign. "The deep state must and will be brought to heel."

Axios has reported that Trump's "top allies are preparing to radically reshape the federal government if he is reelected, purging potentially thousands of civil servants and filling career posts with loyalists to him and his 'America First' ideology."

"The public list-making conjures for some the era of Joseph McCarthy, the senator who conducted grueling hearings into suspected communist sympathizers during the Cold War," AP reported. "The hearings were orchestrated by a top staffer, Roy Cohn, who became a confidant of a younger Trump."

AP noted that while AAF "won't necessarily be recommending whether to fire or reassign the federal workers it lists," the group's work "aligns with Heritage's far-reaching Project 2025 blueprint for a conservative administration." The blueprint states that Trump's Schedule F order "must be reinstituted."

Skye Perryman, CEO of the watchdog group Democracy Forward, told the outlet that AAF's plans recall some of "the darker parts of American history."

Echoing AFGE, Perryman said Trump's allies are trying to "chill the work of these civil servants" as part of a "retribution agenda."

"They're seeking to undermine our democracy," she added.

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.