But what did Ronald Reagan, one of Donald Trump’s heroes, do when he was faced with insurgents within his own federal government?
One need only refer to the mass firings of belligerent, disloyal, and obstructionist Air-Traffic Control Employees by Ronald Reagan in 1981 when they did not operate in the manner that he envisioned in his agenda for America.
The Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (“PATCO”) was a United States trade union that operated from 1968 until its decertification in 1981 following a strike that was declared illegal and broken by the Reagan Administration.
According to labor historian Joseph A. McCartin, the 1981 strike and defeat of PATCO was “one of the most important events in late twentieth century U.S. labor history.”
In striking, the union violated 5 U.S.C. (Supp. III 1956) 118p (now 5 U.S.C. § 7311), which prohibits strikes by federal government employees.
Ronald Reagan declared the PATCO strike a “peril to national safety” and ordered them back to work under the terms of the Taft-Hartley Act.
Only 1,300 of the nearly 13,000 controllers returned to work.
Subsequently Ronald Reagan made the following statement to the media from the Rose Garden of the White House:
“Let me read the solemn oath taken by each of these employees, a sworn affidavit, when they accepted their jobs: ‘I am not participating in any strike against the Government of the United States or any agency thereof, and I will not so participate while an employee of the Government of the United States or any agency thereof.'”
He then demanded those remaining on strike return to work within 48 hours, otherwise their jobs would be forfeited.
On August 5, following the PATCO workers’ refusal to return to work, Reagan fired the 11,345 striking air traffic controllers who had ignored the order, and banned them from federal service for life.
They were replaced initially with non-participating controllers, supervisors, staff personnel, some non-rated personnel, and in some cases by controllers transferred temporarily from other facilities.
Some military controllers were also used until replacements could be trained.
In 2003, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, speaking on the legacy of Ronald Reagan, noted:
“Perhaps the most important, and then highly controversial, domestic initiative was the firing of the air traffic controllers in August 1981. The President invoked the law that striking government employees forfeit their jobs, an action that unsettled those who cynically believed no President would ever uphold that law. President Reagan prevailed, as you know, but far more importantly his action gave weight to the legal right of private employers, previously not fully exercised, to use their own discretion to both hire and discharge workers.”
President Reagan’s director of the United States Office of Personnel Management at the time, Donald J. Devine, argued:
“When the president said no…American business leaders were given a lesson in managerial leadership that they could not and did not ignore. Many private sector executives have told me that they were able to cut the fat from their organizations and adopt more competitive work practices because of what the government did in those days. I would not be surprised if these unseen effects of this private sector shakeout under the inspiration of the president were as profound in influencing the recovery that occurred as the formal economic and fiscal programs.”
In order of importance Donald Trump needs to clean house in the following order, after testing the undying loyalty of these holdovers from previous administrations:
(1) The National Security Community;
(2) The Intelligence Community;
(3) The Military;
(4) The Federal Judiciary; and
(5) The White House Media Press Corps.
Cleaning house in the above 5 areas of federal government will very quickly have a “pruning effect” and allow Donald Trump and his staff to more easier carry out his agenda for America, unfettered, un-sabotaged, and unobstructed.