Democratic House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer criticized Republicans’ use of the term “deep state” before redefining the term in a Sept. 15 speech.
The Maryland representative seemed to be criticizing former President Trump and other Republicans for alluding to the existence of a “deep state” as he was speaking to colleagues about a previous Executive Order President Trump had issued in October 2020.
“[Republicans] made it quite clear they want to eliminate what they call the ‘Deep State,'” Hoyer said in an apparent reference to the contents of the Executive Order. “The ‘Deep State’ is a cadre of professionals dedicated to honoring the Constitution, the laws of this country, and carrying out the policies of the Congress and the president.”
House Majority Leader Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD):
"[Republicans] have made it quite clear they want to eliminate what they call the Deep State. The Deep State is a cadre of professionals dedicated to honoring the Constitution and the laws of this country." pic.twitter.com/cYrvjvDbs8
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) September 15, 2022
The term “Deep State” appears to have been originally popularized and defined by Mike Lofgren, a congressional staffer of 28 years, who wrote The Deep State: The Fall of the Constitution and the Rise of a Shadow Government in 2016. Lofgren originally defined the term “Deep State” as a sort of shadowy government “which operates according to its own compass heading regardless of who is formally in power” in an essay Lofgren wrote in 2014.
President Trump adopted the term throughout his Presidency and defined it in a 2018 speech as “unelected … operatives who defy the voters to push their own secret agendas,” calling them “a threat to democracy itself.” The former President’s critics referred to his use of the term as a conspiracy theory, The Hill said in 2017.
The 2020 Executive Order in question, also referred to as “Schedule F,” exempted “some positions across the federal workforce from competitive hiring procedures and civil-service protections,” according to the Wall Street Journal. Hoyer went on to express his support for bills H.R. 302, H.R. 2988, and H.R. 8326, which appear to mitigate the effects of the former president’s Executive Order, during his speech.
“I strongly support this effort which would protect the nonpartisan nature of our civil service by ensuring that presidents cannot simply fire federal workers by reclassifying them as ‘schedule employees,'” said Hoyer about the proposed legislation.
“That’s what the previous president suggested and that’s what his supporters are suggesting now, and they’re suggesting not only that, but they want to put people in place who will follow their political edicts, legal or not. By the way, it is the Congress that makes policy under the Constitution, under Article 1. It is the executive that carries out policies. Now, presidents of both parties want to be policy-makers also. We must guard against a future president taking that dangerous step of making them employees at-will.”