© Reuters. FILE PHOTO A sign is seen on the entrance to a Social Security office in New York City, U.S., July 16, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo
(Corrects headline and paragraph four to reflect that Saul was nominated not appointed by Trump)
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -U.S. President Joe Biden on Friday fired Social Security Commissioner Andrew Saul, a holdover from the Trump administration, but Saul told the Washington Post that he plans to be at work on Monday morning because his term isn’t over.
“Andrew Saul refused to resign as requested, and he was notified his employment as Commissioner was terminated immediately,” said a White House official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The official said Saul had taken “actions that run contrary to the mission of the agency and the President’s policy agenda.” Among Saul’s actions that the official cited were politicizing Social Security disability benefits, ending the agency’s telework policy and not repairing its relationship with federal employee unions.
Nominated by former President Donald Trump, Saul in 2019 was sworn in for a six-year term. Saul told the Post: “I consider myself the term-protected Commissioner of Social Security.”
Deputy Commissioner David Black, also a Trump appointee, was asked to resign and complied, the White House official said.
Biden has appointed Kilolo Kijakazi as acting commissioner while the search for a commissioner and deputy commissioner is conducted, the official said. Kijakazi is currently the deputy commissioner for retirement and disability policy at the agency.
The Social Security Administration, which oversees programs that provide financial support to the elderly and disabled, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said in a tweet prior to the announcement that firing Saul would be “an unprecedented and dangerous politicization of the Social Security Administration.”
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