All too often, it is not just what the Trump administration does, but the way it does it that is so abhorrent. The Trump White House security clearance scandal exposes the extent to which Trump prioritizes his own interests over national security. But it also reveals something else that is quite disturbing. This scandal has brought to light the shameful way in which the White House has treated one of its own. It is the latest example of how adding insult to injury is a hallmark of Trump’s morally bankrupt presidency.
Tricia Newbold, who currently serves as the Adjudications Manager in the White House Personnel Security Office, recently testified before the House Oversight Committee as a whistleblower. Newbold claimed that the Trump administration improperly overruled dozens of security clearance denials made by career government employees in her office, according to a letter from Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings to White House Counsel Pat Cipollone sent on Monday. Newbold decided to “come forward at great personal risk to warn Congress—and the nation—about the grave security risks she has been witnessing first-hand over the past two years” and she “strongly believes that Congress must intervene immediately to safeguard our national security.”
Newbold was born with a rare form of dwarfism. From the time she began working at the White House eighteen years ago until Trump took office, Newbold never experienced discrimination, according to reporting from Maine newspaper Fiddlehead Focus. But starting in October 2017, when Carl Kline became her supervisor, the administration “subjected her to a hostile and discriminatory work environment for over a year and a half with no relief,” according to her attorney. In an interview this week with NBC News, Newbold explained that Kline humiliated her by moving important files to a high shelf on three separate occasions after she questioned the overruling of the security clearances. Newbold then faced a two-week suspension without pay, which prompted her to file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 2018.
Newbold remains on the job today, and thanks to her efforts, the House Oversight Committee is getting to the bottom of the whole matter. On Tuesday, the Committee voted to subpoena Kline, who had refused to be interviewed voluntarily, for a deposition about the security clearance practices as well as the administration’s treatment of Newbold. As Newbold told Fiddlehead Focus, “I am truly confident that, no matter how hard any situation is, if you do the right thing, it is rewarding… when you can go to sleep with your integrity and know that you’ve done everything to protect national security and the integrity of the institution of which you work, then that’s a really good feeling to have.” It is reassuring to know that honorable individuals like Tricia Newbold can still be found in the White House.