Embattled architect of the Capitol fired months after scathing report
WASHINGTON — Embattled Architect of the Capitol J. Brett Blanton has been removed “at the president’s direction,” the White House announced Monday.
The move comes after days of growing calls for Blanton to resign or be removed from office by President Joe Biden. The architect appeared last week before a congressional panel for the first time since the October release of an inspector general report alleging a litany of ethical breaches.
Hours before the announcement from the White House, Speaker Kevin McCarthy and House Administration Chair Bryan Steil, whose panel is responsible for oversight of the architect, joined the list of lawmakers asking for his resignation.
“After being given the opportunity to respond to numerous allegations of legal, ethical, and administrative violations, and failing to directly respond, the President has removed Mr. Brett Blanton from his position — a decision I firmly stand behind,” House Administration ranking member Joseph D. Morelle, D-N.Y., said in a statement Monday afternoon. “President Biden did the right thing and heeded my call for action. I look forward to working with my colleagues to begin a search for a new Architect immediately.”
Blanton, who was appointed to the 10year term by former President Donald Trump in 2019, was called in to testify before the House Administration Committee on Thursday in part to answer for the damning inspector general report published in October. Blanton further angered lawmakers at the hearing by evading questions and admitting that he failed to respond to the Capitol in person on Jan. 6, 2021, when the campus he’s sworn to protect was under siege.
“Protecting the Capitol, members of Congress, staff, and democracy are not partisan issues,” Rep. Norma J. Torres, D-Calif., who sits on the House Administration Committee, tweeted Monday. “@POTUS made the right decision to terminate Architect of the Capitol Brett Blanton for abusing his office.”
Earlier Monday, McCarthy made his position known. Blanton “no longer has my confidence to continue in his job,” the speaker tweeted.