According to a White House official, President Biden fired Andrew Saul, Trump’s Social Security Commissioner, Friday morning for undermining Social Security benefits and politicizing them.
The official stated that the president requested Saul’s resignation and that of Deputy Commissioner David Black. Black was willing to resign but Saul refused. He was informed that his employment had been terminated.
Saul’s appointment as commissioner was deemed “contrary” by the Biden administration to Mr. Biden’s agenda and to the mission of Social Security Administration. The White House also complained about Saul’s termination of the SSA’s telework program, which was used only by a quarter its workers.
Kilolo Kijakazi has been appointed acting commissioner by President Biden until a new commissioner and deputy are chosen. Kijakazi currently serves as the deputy commissioner for Retirement and Disability in the SSA.
Saul was interviewed Friday afternoon by the Washington Post. The Post asked him why he wouldn’t resign from his position. He said that he doesn’t believe the president has the power to fire him. Since the IRS is an independent agency, it does not usually allow for a new administration to take over leadership. In 2019, Trump appointed Saul to fill an expired term. He also wanted to make a new appointment, which would be valid until 2025.
The White House official refuted Saul’s claim that Mr. Biden cannot fire him and said, “Given Supreme Court precedents, we believe the President has the authority to remove such officials.” This is likely to be a reference the opinion of the high court in a case involving the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, an autonomous agency. In that case, the justices ruled that the president could remove the director.