Gizmodo falsely reported Monday that president-elect Donald Trump fired the federal officials responsible for maintaining the U.S. nuclear arsenal.
“Trump Just Dismissed the People in Charge of Maintaining Our Nuclear Arsenal,” reported Ashley Feinberg, who wrote for Gizmodo’s sister site Gawker before its shutdown. “According to an official within the Department of Energy, this past Friday, the President-elect’s team instructed the head of the National Nuclear Security Administration and his deputy to clean out their desks when Trump takes office on January 20th,” she wrote.
Trump, she continued, “appears determined to immediately push out everyone who was appointed by Obama, regardless of whether or not he has anyone in line for the job. Or, as our source put it: ‘It’s a shocking disregard for process and continuity of government.’”
The piece was widely shared, but Gizmodo soon added a large correction to the body of the piece. It turns it’s not at all true that Trump told the NNSA appointees they had to leave, he just never asked them to stay.
Another NNSA official, speaking on background to Gizmodo and Defense News, has disputed this report as “inaccurate” while confirming that “there have been no discussions between the president-elect’s transition team and any of NNSA’s political appointees on extending their public service past Jan. 20.” In other words, the Trump transition team has not asked the top two NNSA officials to stay on until they can be replaced.
After speaking to our source for clarification, we have updated the story and headline to reflect that, while Klotz and Creedon have submitted their resignations, intend to depart on January 20, and have not been asked by the Trump transition to stay past that date, the Trump team has not explicitly instructed them to leave or “clean out their desks,” as we reported. According to our source, both officials “have expressed [to the Trump team] that they would likely be willing to stay to facilitate a smooth transition, if asked,” as is the tradition for key officials, and have received no response.
The headline has likewise been updated to read “Trump Is Letting Go the People in Charge of Maintaining Our Nuclear Arsenal.”
[Image via screengrab]