Trump's FEMA director joins list of scandal-plagued officials to quit


Brock Long, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, resigned after facing a string of scandals during his brief tenure.

On Wednesday afternoon, Brock Long announced his resignation as director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA. Like so many Trump officials, Long faced a series of scandals during his tenure, primarily focused on his repeated misuse of government resources related to traveling.

Rather than use his own car for his personal trips home, Long would often leave Washington on Thursdays "in a caravan of government-owned vehicles with federal employees," to travel 400 miles to his home in North Carolina, according to the Wall Street Journal. His misdeeds cost taxpayers more than $150,000 in staff salary, travel expenses, and vehicle maintenance.

After an internal investigation, Long was forced to repay the government for his unethical behavior.

Long was FEMA director during the Trump administration's lackluster response to Hurricane Maria, which ravaged Puerto Rico. After reports came out showing thousands of people died in the aftermath, Trump simply refused to believe the data. Long also refused to accept the findings, claiming "the numbers are all over the place."

In FEMA's announcement of the resignation, the agency announced that Long's deputy, Peter Gaynor, will become acting director for FEMA. Gaynor becomes yet one more Trump administration official to lead an agency in the "acting" capacity rather than through Senate confirmation.

Earlier this month, Trump had seven top roles in his administration filled by acting heads, including acting chief of staff, an acting attorney general, an acting secretary of defense, an acting secretary of the Interior, an acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, and an acting head of the Environmental Protection Agency. Even Republican members of Congress are concerned about Trump's habit of bypassing the Senate's constitutional role in confirming administration officials.

One of the reasons Trump must rely on acting heads of agencies is because no one wants to work for him. After chief of staff John Kelly quit, Trump struggled to find a replacement for what was once one of the most sought-after positions in Washington. Trump begged the press to stop saying no one wanted to work for him after several high-profile people publicly stated they did not want to work for him.

Many other top positions remain unfilled. The United States currently has no secretary of defense, for example. The Interior Department and Environmental Protection Agency also have "acting" leaders in place. FEMA, an agency within the Department of Homeland Security, now will be led by someone in an "acting" role as well.

In one of the most chaotic and unstable administrations in modern history, Trump has trouble keeping staff in place. In his first year in office, turnover among top staff was higher than in the past 100 years.

Brock Long joins a long list of Trump administration officials leaving after facing sandal.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.