Trump’s PATCO Moment: Emanating Reagan, the President Takes Control of Federal Government to ‘Protect the Country and Its Citizens’
President Donald Trump’s firing of a politically motivated official—now-former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, for her refusal to enforce the laws of the nation and carry out the administration’s policy—harkens back to a previous president who faced a similar crisis at the beginning of his administration.
CNN has been framing this in its lower-third chyron throughout the evening as “the Monday Night Massacre”—a reference to President Richard Nixon’s firing of both his Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General when they refused to get rid of a special prosecutor who was investigating him—with the intent to paint Trump as an off-the-rails tyrant. But even Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein, appearing on CNN late Monday night, rejected the comparison his own network CNN was making to the Nixon administration’s “Saturday Night Massacre.”
“There’s a big difference, because the Saturday Night Massacre was really about firing the attorney general when Nixon was the target of an investigation and was actively obstructing justice,” Bernstein said. “I think the president is within his rights here to fire the attorney general, that he has that ability.”
The reference that is much more accurate in this case is a reference to a different previous GOP president, an outsider battling to gain control of the federal government in his early days in office. Former White House political director Jeffrey Lord, who served under President Ronald Reagan, told Breitbart News that this matches Reagan’s battles with the bureaucracy at the beginning of his administration.
“I remember vividly when President Reagan fired the air traffic controllers—the PATCO union which had endorsed him as a candidate—in 1981,” Lord said in an email. “All of Washington was saying this was a mistake. He did it anyway, totally violating the Washington political and media elite conventional wisdom of the day. Kudos to President Trump for doing the 21st century version of Reagan’s bold firing to uphold principle. Elites will hate it but Americans will love it. More to the point they will get it.”
Back when President Reagan first took office, in the spring of 1981 while he was still recovering from the failed assassination attempt by John Hinckley, his Transportation Secretary Drew Lewis informed him that the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (PATCO) planned to strike. Read the rest of the story HERE.
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