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Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Federal Salary Council Chair Ron Sanders resigned on Monday over President Trump’s recent executive order that strips civil service protections for some federal workers.

Why he's saying: Sanders, who was appointed by Trump in 2017, said he could no longer work for the president as “a matter of conscience.”

  • “[I]t is clear that its stated purpose notwithstanding, the executive order is nothing more than a smokescreen for what is clearly an attempt to require the political loyalty of those who advise the president, or failing that, to enable their removal with little if any due process," Sanders, a lifelong Republican, wrote in his resignation letter obtained by Politico.
  • “Career federal employees are legally and duty-bound to be nonpartisan; they take an oath to preserve and protect our Constitution and the rule of law … not to be loyal to a particular president or administration,” he added.

Context: The executive order, signed last week, requires agencies to reclassify workers involved in "positions of a confidential, policy-determining, policy-making, or policy-advocating character that are not normally subject to change as a result of a Presidential transition" to a new category — named Schedule F — by Jan. 19.

  • Those workers will be exempt from some job protections.
  • Critics argue the order, which could affect tens of thousands of workers, will make it easier for the president to hire and fire federal workers. One prominent federal union leader told the New York Times the order was "the most profound undermining of the Civil Service in our lifetimes."
  • The White House says the order expedites removal of “poor performers.”

Go deeper

Biden's Day 1 challenges: Systemic racism

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Kirsty O'Connor (PA Images)/Getty Images

Advocates are pushing President-elect Biden to tackle systemic racism with a Day 1 agenda that includes ending the detention of migrant children and expanding DACA, announcing a Justice Department investigation of rogue police departments and returning some public lands to Indigenous tribes.

Why it matters: Biden has said the fight against systemic racism will be one of the top goals of his presidency — but the expectations may be so high that he won't be able to meet them.

Trump's 2024 begins

Trump speaking to reporters in the White House on Thanksgiving. Photo: Erin Schaff - Pool/Getty Images

President Trump is likely to announce he'll run again in 2024, perhaps before this term even ends, sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: Trump has already set in motion two important strategies to stay relevant and freeze out other Republican rivals. 

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
55 mins ago - Health

Nursing homes are still getting pummeled by the pandemic

Data: AHCA/NCAL, The COVID Tracking Project; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

The U.S. has gotten no better at keeping the coronavirus out of nursing homes.

Why it matters: The number of nursing home cases has consistently tracked closely with the number of cases in the broader community — and that's very bad news as overall cases continue to skyrocket.