The most controversial of the many executive orders issued by President Trump (so far) has been to institute a 90 day entry ban on people from seven countries (Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen), an indefinite entry ban on refugees from Syria, and a four month ban on all refugees. Full text at CNN.
In response, protesters demonstrated at international airports around the US, Pope Francis and many politicians from both aisles condemned the order, opposition cases were filed in several states, and the acting Attorney General Sally Yates refused to defend it in court.
Yates was quickly replaced, as was the acting Director of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement. Some pundits are calling this the Monday Night Massacre, invoking Nixon, but it seems to me that this and other provocative executive orders and memorandums are effectively a loyalty test by the incoming administration. And they won’t be the last.
During the election, we saw a nearly-public test of strength between the FBI, which seemed to support Trump, and the CIA, which seemed to lean towards Clinton. As described in The Intercept:
Trump values loyalty to himself above all other traits, so it is surely not lost on him that few entities were as devoted to his victory, or played as critical a role in helping to achieve it, as the FBI. One of the more unusual aspects of the 2016 election, perhaps the one that will prove to be most consequential, was the covert political war waged between the CIA and FBI. While the top echelon of the CIA community was vehemently pro-Clinton, certain factions within the FBI were aggressively supportive of Trump. Hillary Clinton herself blames James Comey and his election-week letter for her defeat. Elements within the powerful New York field office were furious that Comey refused to indict Clinton, and embittered agents reportedly shoveled anti-Clinton leaks to Rudy Giuliani. The FBI’s 35,000 employees across the country are therefore likely to be protected and empowered. Trump’s decision to retain Comey — while jettisoning all other top government officials — suggests that this has already begun to happen.
Trump and his advisers are well aware that they are taking over a bureaucracy that is still riddled with supporters of the neoliberal globalist regime. That’s why Trump brought in his own security detail.
Thus commences a long purge, and the first task is to discover who is loyal to the executive, and who is not. The old guard has a lot of power and includes much of the mainstream media, but Trump has the power to replace senior officials, who will presumably work their way down through the ranks.