Then, when the walkout happened, she wrote that it “became a crisis.” So, naturally, Reagan—a conservative with backbone—“did what he said he would do.”
“He refused to accept the strike and refused to resume negotiations,” she wrote. “He called reporters to the Rose Garden and read from a handwritten statement he’d composed the night before. If the strikers did not return to work within 48 hours, they would be fired—and not rehired. The 48 hours was meant as a cooling-off period. In the meantime, Reagan made clear, nonstriking controllers and supervisory personnel would keep the skies open.”
After a political catastrophe played itself out in the media on the world stage, Reagan won: He broke the strike by firing the more than 11,000 striking air traffic controllers and worked feverishly to replace them after banning them from federal service for life (Bill Clinton later lifted the ban). And, more importantly, he regained control. President Reagan showed he was in control of the federal bureaucracy, the millions-strong federal workforce that generally votes for Democrats not Republicans, and that the government was under his command. It was a defining moment.
Fast forward to early 2017, and President Trump is less than two weeks into his administration after defeating Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton in a shocker landslide electoral college victory—where he won 306 electoral votes from 30 and a half states—stunning the media, the political class, and the federal bureaucracy to ascend to the highest office in the land. As an aside, Clinton’s failure to win even 20 full states was an embarrassment—especially since basically everyone in the political, cultural, and financial elite universe thought she would succeed.
Nonetheless, it was mostly smooth sailing for President Trump for his first week in office. Occasional media blowups from the usual anti-Trump suspects and scarce political opposition helped the newly inaugurated president of the United States make it through his first seven days in office easily. But on the seventh day, this past Friday, President Trump signed an executive order restricting immigration from seven terror-prone countries and putting a temporary pause on the refugee program. And over the weekend into early this week, all hell broke loose. The media lost control, Trump’s political opponents in both parties unleashed fierce criticism of the president, his policy, and the rollout process, while the media fanned the flames.
Then, on Monday evening, the storyline hit critical mass: Sally Yates, the Acting Attorney General of the United States, issued a directive to Justice Department employees that they should not enforce the president’s new executive order.
Yates, a political appointee from Trump’s predecessor, Democratic President Barack Obama, in the role of Deputy Attorney General, had agreed to stay on to help the peaceful transition of power to the Trump administration after the election. She was named, until her successor is confirmed, as the acting Attorney General. That means she agreed to follow the laws of the United States and execute the policies of the president of the United States—even ones with which she disagreed politically. The question she faced is whether Trump’s order was legally defensible. Trump’s team ran the order through the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel. They determined it was legal. Therefore, Yates’ duty was to enforce the laws of the United States—and uphold the Constitution—as directed by the President of the United States, something she knew when she accepted the position to help with the peaceful transition of power.
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), the incoming Attorney General, is likely to be confirmed by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday and by the full U.S. Senate later this week. That means Yates’ decision to break her oath to uphold the laws and Constitution of the United States and the policies of the president comes just days before she was going to lose her temporary appointment anyway. But, it also presented a critical moment for President Trump. Let career government bureaucrats and politically motivated ex-Obama officials who are serving in similar capacities throughout the administration—sources with direct knowledge of transition efforts tell Breitbart News there are approximately 50 such politically-appointed ex-Obama officials still serving in key governmental positions as the transition continues—run over him and cause him to lose control? Or show the millions-strong governmental workforce, regardless of any particular government worker’s ideology, who is the boss?
Trump chose the latter and, in true Trumpian fashion, treated America and the world to his signature catchphrase from The Apprentice reality television show: “You’re Fired.” Trump canned Yates almost instantly. Then, he brought in a new Acting Attorney General, Dana Boente—the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia—to enforce the laws of the nation.
The press release from the White House was strong, ripping Yates for her “betrayal” of the Department of Justice and for being “weak” on immigration and national security. the Trump White House said: