Biden's draining the swamp: White House fires Trump appointee who refused to resign

Trump-appointed lawyer Sharon Gustafson served as general counsel for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

By Meaghan Ellis
March 8, 2021 5:22PM (UTC)
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U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks at a virtual event hosted by the Munich Security Conference in the East Room of the White House on February 19, 2021 in Washington, DC. In his remarks, President Biden stressed the United States' commitment to NATO after four years of the Trump administration undermining the alliance. (Anna Moneymaker-Pool/Getty Images)

This article originally appeared on AlterNet.

The Biden White House has announced the termination of a Trump-appointee who made headlines when she defiantly refused to resign when the Biden administration took office.

According to Bloomberg Law, on Friday, March 5, an inside source revealed President Joe Biden's administration moved to fire Sharon Gustafson—the Trump-appointed lawyer who served as general counsel for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

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The termination comes shortly after Gustafson made headlines when she released her letter in response to Biden's request for her resignation. In the letter, Gustafson reiterated that she was appointed to serve a four-year term as she respectfully declined to resign.

"I have confidently given this advice to countless embattled clients over the last 25 years: hold your head high, do your best work, and do not resign under pressure," she added. "In solidarity with them, I will follow that advice."

Gustafson also sounded off with accusations alleging the Biden administration had undermined her previous work as she noted that her work by removing it from the EEOC website. "I can only assume that my resignation would be followed by similar suppression of our work promoting religious freedom," Gustafson wrote.

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In response to the Biden administration's request, other Trump-appointees have expressed their disdain. In fact, Andrea R. Lucas, the EEOC's Trump-appointed commissioner tweeted her concerns saying, it was "an injection of partisanship where it had been absent[.]"

When Gustafson was nominated, there were heightened concerns about the possibility of her advocating to overturn EEOC guidance implemented by former President Barack Obama's administration.

During an interview with The Washington Post, David Lopez, former EEOC general counsel who served under the Obama administration, also expressed concern about Gustafson's appointment.

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"One of the issues she made as her hallmark, was the issue of discrimination against religious minorities, the law requiring religious accommodation of beliefs," Lopez said. "Some lawyers from the conservative Christian right view this right as a conflict with requiring nondiscrimination against LGBTQ people."

In the letter, Gustafson also raised concerns about the ethical aspects of her termination but Lopez admitted that he does not see any issue with the resignation request. "At the end of the day you serve at the pleasure of the president," Lopez said. "I think the norm that was violated was that she decided to stay. I've never heard of that happening before."


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