After removing the intelligence community's Inspector General last week, US President Donald Trump on April 7 took another shot at federal watchdogs, when he replaced Glenn Fine, Inspector General of the Department of Defense. According to reports, Trump has appointed the Environmental Protection Agency’s IG to be the new acting Pentagon IG. Fine was set to oversee the government's coronavirus response and the spending of its $2.3 trillion stimulus package, known as the Cares Act.
When asked about Fine's removal, Trump reportedly said that he had recently appointed a number of people to serve as agency IGs and also suggested that he is removing those appointed under the Obama administration. "We have a lot of IGs in from the Obama era. And, as you know, it's a presidential decision," Trump told reporters during his daily coronavirus briefings. Trump reportedly also criticised IG who oversees the Department of Health and Human Services.
The recent move by Trump has attracted a lot of criticism and especially from the other side of the political spectrum. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a statement released on her website said, "The sudden removal and replacement of Acting Inspector General Fine is part of a disturbing pattern of retaliation by the President against independent overseers fulfilling their statutory and patriotic duties to conduct oversight on behalf of the American people."
The deadly coronavirus infection has claimed nearly 82,000 lives across the world and has infected over 14,32,000 people globally since it first broke out in December 2019. China was the most affected country until last month before Italy and Spain surpassed it to record the most number of deaths anywhere in the world due to COVID-19. The United States, France, the United Kingdom, and Iran have also overtaken China in terms of the COVID-19 death toll. The virus is believed to have originated from a seafood market in China's Wuhan city, the epicentre of the disease, where animals were reportedly being traded illegally.
(Image Credit: AP)