WASHINGTON — As the nation awaits the final tally in the presidential election, the Trump administration appears to have used a shuffling of top jobs at the United States Agency for International Development to keep a political appointee in charge of the global development organization.
The move offers a possible indication that, win or lose, President Trump intends to continue to defy the usual post-election comity to muscle through his policies and appointees for as long as he can.
Unexpectedly on Friday, the administration fired the deputy at U.S.A.I.D., which will keep her boss in power, since the move came just hours before his appointment was to expire.
Two officials confirmed that the deputy administrator, Bonnie Glick, was told around 2:45 p.m. Friday that she would be out of her job at 5 p.m.
Her termination came shortly after the agency’s acting administrator, John Barsa, was notified by internal lawyers that his 210-day appointment would expire at midnight Friday, and that he would go back to his previous post as an assistant administrator. Had she not been fired, Ms. Glick would have become the acting administrator.
In a statement, the aid agency confirmed that Friday was Ms. Glick’s last day on the job and called her “a tremendous champion of, and for, USAID.” It did not include details of her firing, and a spokeswoman declined to comment further.
Mr. Barsa was a Senate-confirmed assistant administrator, overseeing Latin America policy, when the agency’s former leader, Mark Green, resigned in April.
At that point, the Trump administration tapped Mr. Barsa — over Ms. Glick, who was next in line — to run the agency in a temporary capacity.
Now, with Ms. Glick gone, Mr. Barsa is in line to be the acting deputy administrator — and will, in effect, run the agency, since there is no Senate-confirmed administrator. One official described it as a “Game of Thrones” move.
It is not clear why the White House or State Department refused to name Ms. Glick as the agency’s acting administrator either of the times she was passed over. One of the officials said she and Mr. Barsa have not gotten along since he was given the job in April.
The personnel chaos at the aid agency, which has been beset by infighting and delays in distributing coronavirus assistance worldwide, was touched off earlier Friday by a press inquiry from Devex, an online news and community forum for development workers, which had asked about Mr. Barsa’s status given that his appointment was about to expire.
Ms. Glick was confirmed by unanimous consent to her post as deputy administrator of the agency in January 2019. She is a registered Republican in Maryland.