Can’t imagine this will be a popular move, especially among the progressives who already view Joe Biden with some suspicion. Biden’s left flank doesn’t just want a clean break from the Donald Trump administration — they want to blacklist everyone who ever worked for Trump in perpetuity. However, multiple media outlets now report that Biden has decided to keep FBI director Christopher Wray in place despite his personal appointment by Trump.
President Joe Biden will keep FBI Director Christopher Wray on in that role, a source familiar with the president’s plan told POLITICO.
Wray was named to head the bureau in 2017 by former President Donald Trump, who sparked controversy earlier that year by firing former FBI Director James Comey.
President Joe Biden plans to keep Christopher Wray as his FBI director, a person familiar with the matter said Thursday.
It’s a sign of Biden’s confidence in the Donald Trump appointee — and his return to pre-Trump presidential tradition — that the new president will keep the FBI director, who still has six years left in his term.
President Joe Biden will keep FBI Director Christopher Wray in his position, a White House official told NBC News.
Wray, an appointee of former President Donald Trump, is serving a 10-year term. He was expected to remain in place.
Was he, though? Wray got the endorsement of the rank and file a couple of months ago even before the election, asking both Trump and Biden to keep Wray in place. However, Biden’s allies have been adamant about the need for a clean break from the previous administration, and nowhere would that be more visible than at the FBI, where Trump broke the old precedent by firing Comey.
Of course, Democrats disliked Comey almost as much as Trump did, and for pretty good reasons. Still, it’s tough to see how the more hardline among Democrats will be able to reconcile the demands for blacklists of Trump hires while the most controversial replacement still sits on top of the FBI.
There’s another potential problem with keeping Wray in place other than just his appointment by Trump. Some Democrats want a “truth commission” established to detail all of the sins of the Trump era, including in law enforcement and intelligence. Wouldn’t Wray be part of both of those areas? Why would Democrats trust Wray to clean up the system when he spent three-plus years running it under Trump?
None of this is to argue that this is a bad decision, by the way. The argument for continuity and a return to institutional strength is probably the wise one. Wray managed to keep himself mostly out of the partisan chaos over the past three years too, and was enough of an occasional target of Trump’s Twitter wrath that he’s likely earned some credibility among Democrats. Nevertheless, this will produce plenty of grumbling in Biden’s base about “normalizing” Trump appointees and will undercut the blacklist movement … which in itself is a pretty good outcome for Biden if he’s serious about “healing.”