Press Releases

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, today issued the following statement after Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Policy James Anderson submitted his resignation, just one day after Secretary of Defense Mark Esper was fired via tweet.

“It is hard to overstate just how dangerous high-level turnover at the Department of Defense is during a period of presidential transition. The top policy professional in the Department resigning the day after the Secretary of Defense was fired could mark the beginning of a process of gutting the DoD – something that should alarm all Americans. 

“As soon as Former Vice President Biden became President-Elect Biden, President Trump and those loyal to him started to sow chaos and division. It appears that chaos has now reached the Pentagon. Acting Under Secretary Anderson’s resignation is made even more alarming by his presumed replacement, Anthony Tata, whose problematic past prevented him from achieving Senate confirmation. If this is the beginning of a trend – the President either firing or forcing out national security professionals in order to replace them with people perceived as more loyal to him – then the next 70 days will be precarious at best and downright dangerous at worst.

“This confirms what I have been saying for months: The President’s singular obsession with loyalty has severely undermined the competence of our government and made us less safe. It is an insult to the American people to hamstring government, particularly during a period of presidential transition.” 


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, today issued the following statement after the White House announced the firing of Secretary of Defense Mark Esper via tweet, destabilizing the Pentagon ahead of the Presidential transition.

“In the national security community, it is well known that periods of presidential transition leave our country exposed to unique threats. Until President-Elect Biden is sworn into office next January, it is imperative that the Pentagon remain under stable, experienced leadership.

“Dismissing politically appointed national security leaders during a transition is a destabilizing move that will only embolden our adversaries and put our country at greater risk. President Trump’s decision to fire Secretary Esper out of spite is not just childish, it’s also reckless. It has long been clear that President Trump cares about loyalty above all else, often at the expense of competence, and during a period of presidential transition competence in government is of the utmost importance.”


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) issued the following statement after the United States officially exited the Paris Climate Agreement.

“President Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement demonstrates this Administration’s complete disregard for the proven science and existential consequences of climate change. Five years after joining the agreement, the U.S. becomes the only country of nearly 200 to leave the agreement. This is a disastrous move that undermines the most significant global climate change agreement to date.

“The President’s failed leadership and inaction is further proof that he has no interest in combatting the devastating impacts we are already seeing on the environment, economy, and health of our communities. This decision also reflects the Administration’s continued retreat from international cooperation, which is directly counter to the global approach required to drive down emissions. The United States should rejoin the agreement and commit to going even further in spurring the clean energy transition necessary to combat climate change. I will continue to fight for policies that allow for future generations to lead prosperous and healthy lives.”


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) issued the following statement after the United States Senate voted to confirm Amy Coney Barrett as the newest Justice on the Supreme Court.

“Senate Republicans just took the unprecedented action of confirming President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee just days before the election. This confirmation is further evidence that Republicans are putting politics ahead of the people. Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation to the highest court in the land is a direct threat to the Affordable Care Act, protections for people with pre-existing conditions, civil rights, election security, reproductive rights, LGBTQ rights, the environment, and more. American families and businesses desperately need a COVID-19 relief bill, not a Supreme Court Justice whose career reflects a willingness to strip these rights, protections, and health care they need in the middle of a pandemic.

“Nine months before the 2016 election, Senate Majority Leader McConnell said that a Supreme Court nominee should not be appointed and confirmed during an election year. Yet mere weeks before the 2020 election, Senate Republicans decided that they must confirm the late Justice Ginsburg’s replacement. Senate Republicans purported to act on principle when they refused even to grant Judge Garland a hearing—if there was ever any doubt, we now know definitively that they are more than willing to abandon principle when it no longer suits them.

“President Trump’s moral bankruptcy is on full display in his latest power grab to secure a place for ‘his’ Justice on the Supreme Court. The President and the Republican Party’s refusal to confront the virus, protect our country, and provide relief for the American people is rooted in that same moral bankruptcy. We have no national plan for testing, tracing, treatment, mask-wearing, and social distancing. We cannot safely reopen our schools and economy. Despite Republican efforts to distract from their capitulation to the virus by rushing to confirm Justice Barrett, I will continue to fight alongside my colleagues to deliver relief for the American people.”


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, today issued the following statement after the White House announced its intent to create a new class of civil service positions designed to eliminate merit-based hiring and permit “at will” termination of these positions:

“President Trump’s latest executive order is a brazen act to politicize the career civil service and a direct assault on civil service protections. Time and again, the Trump Administration has sought a path that values, and in turn exploits, loyalty over competence. For more than 150 years, the federal civil service program has cultivated a cadre of non-partisan policy experts to augment and provide continuity for the ever-transitioning politically appointed workforce, who serve at the pleasure of the sitting president.

“The Schedule F designation would be applied to mid- to high-grade schedule (GS) positions identified as ‘confidential, policy-determining, policy-making, or policy-advocating’ and could potentially impact hundreds of thousands of currently occupied positions. Under this arbitrary distinction, if deemed disloyal, employees could be easily fired for arbitrary infractions or without cause.

“I look forward to working with my congressional colleagues to rebuff the Trump Administration’s actions against our federal workforce. Our federal government relies on these highly-capable career civil servants – their competence must not be undermined in the name of loyalty to Trump.”