In a shocking announcement, Florida’s Republican Governor, Ron DeSantis, has pledged to dismantle four federal agencies, including the one in charge of the United States’ nuclear arsenal, if he secures the presidency. His words echo a dangerous trend among conservatives who seem ready to undermine the very institutions that hold our nation together.
Fox News’s Martha McCallum recently posed the question, “Are you in favor of eliminating any agencies?” To which DeSantis replied with a brazen declaration, listing the Department of Education, Department of Commerce, Department of Energy, and even the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as agencies on his hit list. Ironically, these agencies mirror several within his own administration that he hasn’t expressed a desire to eliminate.
His desire to remove the Department of Energy, in particular, is alarming given its role in maintaining the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). The NNSA is entrusted with a mission of paramount importance: “enhancing national security through the military application of nuclear science.”
The NNSA’s work is extensive, ranging from preventing nuclear weapons proliferation to reducing the threat of nuclear and radiological terrorism worldwide. It houses the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program, which ensures the safe, reliable, and long-lived operation of militarily effective nuclear propulsion plants. Additionally, the NNSA’s Office of Counterterrorism and Counterproliferation (CTCP) stands as a key line of defense against nuclear terrorism and proliferation.
Yet, despite the crucial role these agencies play, DeSantis didn’t provide a concrete plan for who would pick up the slack in their absence. His rather vague promise was that if Congress worked with him, they could “reduce the scope of government.”
When pressed on the topic of eliminating the IRS, DeSantis chose to pivot instead, vowing to use the aforementioned agencies to “push back against woke ideology and against the leftism that we see creeping into all institutions of American life.”
His goals, as he outlined them, include reversing transgender sports policies and pushing back against “the curriculum” in schools. Though it’s not entirely clear what curriculum he’s referring to, one can safely assume he’s targeting progressive education initiatives, including diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs and critical race theory (CRT).
His words serve as a stark reminder that we must remain vigilant in our fight for equal rights and protections, particularly as it becomes increasingly clear that not all politicians are committed to upholding these principles. In a world where education, commerce, and even our nuclear arsenal could be used as pawns in a high-stakes political game, the need for advocacy and action has never been more apparent.