A former spokesman for Barack Obama’s presidential campaign has been touting an apparent attempt to blacklist allies and staffers of President Trump and his administration, drawing criticism as President-elect Joe Biden has called for unity and healing.
Hari Sevugan — also the former national press secretary for the Democratic National Committee and, earlier this year, a deputy campaign manager on Pete Buttigieg’s failed White House bid — on Friday tweeted a link to the Trump Accountability Project.
“.@kaitlancollins [of CNN] just reported WH staff are starting to look for jobs. Employers considering them should know there are consequences for hiring anyone who helped Trump attack American values,” wrote Sevugan to his more than 14,000 followers. “Find out how at the Trump Accountability Project.”
The site features a shot of Trump and staffers in the White House, overlaid with the message “Remember what they did.”
“We must never forget those who furthered the Trump agenda,” the site goes on to say. “We should welcome in our fellow Americans with whom we differ politically. But those who took a paycheck from the Trump Administration should not profit from their efforts to tear our democracy apart.”
The site identifies as targets “Those who elected him,” “Those who staffed his government” and “Those who funded him.”
The site does not make clear who is behind the effort.
Despite a bitter White House race, Biden has extended an olive branch to the more than 71 million people who voted for Trump, and encouraged his own supporters to do the same, pledging to be a president for all Americans.
CNN anchor Jake Tapper noted that disconnect.
“An organized attempt by former Dem officials to blackball from employment anyone who worked for the US government during the Trump administration seems the exact opposite of the calls for unity and healing we’ve heard from President-elect Biden,” the journalist tweeted, adding in a second post that those who would be affected comprise “a pretty long list of Americans.”
The effort also drew fire from within the Democratic Party itself.
“I agree with@jaketapper,” tweeted Democratic California Rep. Ro Khanna. “This is overboard & will not help us build a pluralistic democracy. I have worked with people like Matt Lira [of the Trump administration’s Office of American Innovation] at the WH who built on Obama Admin efforts to modernize federal agencies. It would be absurd to blackball public servants like him.”