Oliver Freaks Civil Service Reform Will Lead Trump To Be Like George Wallace

The Rube Goldberg-like logic train that sits inside of John Oliver’s brain was on full display on Sunday’s Last Week Tonight on HBO, where he warned that former President Donald Trump and the Heritage Foundation’s Project 2025’s plans for civil service reform could lead to the former governing like segregationist Gov. George Wallace.

Project 2025 styles itself as the blueprint for the governing agenda for a second Trump term and is an 887-page doorstopper that has become the boogeyman for liberals trying to scaremonger about a second Trump term. However, it’s mostly basic conservatism. Regardless, Oliver focused on one specific part:

I do get that ‘Trump unraveling civil service protections’ isn’t the sexiest headline, but it’s also the action that could unlock his ability to do all the incredibly damaging things that he and those involved in Project 2025 have been planning. So, what do we do here? Well, the simple thing is, don’t vote for Donald Trump. I don’t know if you were planning on doing that, but I think it should be clear by now that the official position of this show is that you should not vote for Donald Trump. Not for president, not for winner of The Masked Singer, basically not for anything.

Basically, Trump’s plan is to take 50,000 civil service jobs and turn them into political appointees. Oliver reckons that with 50,000 additional Trump loyalists in charge, implementing the rest of Project 2025 will be much easier, therefore everyone needs to vote for Biden, “And while I have a lot of problems with Biden, he’s clearly the better of the two options. Which I recognize is a low bar. Being better than Donald Trump cannot be the standard, because Trump himself is the very absence of a standard. But the truth is, even if Trump loses, that won’t be the end of this. The people who cooked up Project 2025 will just move on to Project 2029 instead, because for them, this is about so much more than just one election, or indeed, one candidate.”

For Oliver, this is allegedly how Trump becomes George Wallace, “Project 2025 is born from an impulse as old as America. It’s an impulse that says one class of Americans is entitled to lead, and the rest of us are lucky to be allowed to serve. That thinks there should be a limited government when it comes to rules they have to live by, but also a unitary executive to keep the rest of us in line. These are old, old ideas that have been shouted from podiums by the likes of George Wallace and Pat Buchanan, but have now been placed into a new playbook for an only-too-willing president to use on day one.”

Oliver also expressed the feeling that people deserve better than to sit around and hope a certain two Supreme Court justices die, “And in a perfect world, I’d love if we had an opposing party better able to articulate a strong defense of our country’s ideals, and that also consistently lived up to them. People are entitled to hope for more from the next four years than someone just ‘Not being Trump,’ and for at least two Supreme Court justices to die. I’m not saying which ones I’d prefer, but I think we all have our top two.”

Circling back to Trump, Oliver again implored voters to vote against him, “And for anyone tempted to think, ‘Well, we survived Trump’s first term,’ first not everyone did. And it should hopefully be clear by now, a second Trump term really promises to be far, far worse. Because if Trump’s first term was defined by chaos, his second could be defined by ruthless efficiency.”

Whether Trump turns 50,000 civil service positions into political ones is something that remains to be seen. What we can be sure of is that a second Trump term will not bring about George Wallace-ism.

Here is a transcript for the June 16 show:

HBO Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

6/16/2024

11:34 PM ET

JOHN OLIVER: I do get that “Trump unraveling civil service protections” isn’t the sexiest headline, but it’s also the action that could unlock his ability to do all the incredibly damaging things that he and those involved in Project 2025 have been planning. So, what do we do here? Well, the simple thing is, don’t vote for Donald Trump. I don’t know if you were planning on doing that, but I think it should be clear by now that the official position of this show is that you should not vote for Donald Trump. Not for president, not for winner of The Masked Singer, basically not for anything.

And while I have a lot of problems with Biden, he’s clearly the better of the two options. Which I recognize is a low bar. Being better than Donald Trump cannot be the standard, because Trump himself is the very absence of a standard. But the truth is, even if Trump loses, that won’t be the end of this. The people who cooked up Project 2025 will just move on to Project 2029 instead, because for them, this is about so much more than just one election, or indeed, one candidate.

Project 2025 is born from an impulse as old as America. It’s an impulse that says one class of Americans is entitled to lead, and the rest of us are lucky to be allowed to serve. That thinks there should be a limited government when it comes to rules they have to live by, but also a unitary executive to keep the rest of us in line. These are old, old ideas that have been shouted from podiums by the likes of George Wallace and Pat Buchanan, but have now been placed into a new playbook for an only-too-willing president to use on day one.

And in a perfect world, I’d love if we had an opposing party better able to articulate a strong defense of our country’s ideals, and that also consistently lived up to them. People are entitled to hope for more from the next four years than someone just “Not being Trump,” and for at least two Supreme Court justices to die. I’m not saying which ones I’d prefer, but I think we all have our top two. And for anyone tempted to think, “Well, we survived Trump’s first term,” first not everyone did.

And it should hopefully be clear by now, a second Trump term really promises to be far, far worse. Because if Trump’s first term was defined by chaos, his second could be defined by ruthless efficiency.

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