News outlets keep returning to one word to describe President Trump’s latest personnel shake-up, this time at the Department of Homeland Security: “purge.”
Networks have described the events of the past few days as a purge at least five dozen times over the past 24 hours. Outlets including CNN, the New York Times, Politico and The Washington Post all used the descriptor in their coverage. CNN’s Brian Stelter reported Monday that only Fox News didn’t integrate “purge” into its initial coverage.
The similarities in the characterizations were striking, especially considering Trump’s propensity for unceremoniously firing even the most loyal officials. Still, it was far from the first time that cable networks, especially, “flooded the zone” by using a word or phrase to endlessly describe the state of play in the Trump administration.
The departures seem to mark an even harder-line shift on immigration for Trump ahead of the 2020 election and have left a void atop one of the government’s largest agencies. Trump has yet to nominate anyone for 140 key positions across the government requiring Senate confirmation, and three of his 15 Cabinet-level agencies are led by acting secretaries, something Trump has relied on more than his predecessors.
And as the Times reported Tuesday, Trump could soon become the first president in at least three decades to have “three different people serve as the cabinet secretary for a single agency in his first three years.”