Biden tells appointees 'I will fire you on the spot' for showing disrespect to colleagues

David Knowles and Brittany Shepherd
·2-min read

President Biden issued a warning Wednesday to his appointees that a hostile workplace will not be allowed in his administration.

Addressing approximately 1,000 political appointees during a virtual swearing-in ceremony on his first day in the White House, Biden said: “I’m not joking when I say this: If you ever work with me and I hear you treat another colleague with disrespect, talk down to someone, I will fire you on the spot. No ifs, ands or buts.”

Joe Biden
President Biden conducts a virtual swearing-in ceremony at the White House on Wednesday. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

That message echoes the theme of national unity that Biden made during his inaugural address earlier in the day.

“Without unity, there is no peace, only bitterness and fury,” Biden said during his speech, adding, “Politics doesn’t have to be a raging fire, destroying everything in its path. Every disagreement doesn’t have to be a cause for total war.”

Under former President Trump, administration officials, including the president himself, seemed to revel in political battles and personal attacks, directed at both Democrats and even fellow Republicans, using tweets and media appearances to insult their rivals. Trump was notoriously rude to officials after — or even before — they left the administration, demeaning them as weak, stupid or traitorous.

On day one of his term of office, Biden signaled a different approach.

“Everybody is entitled to be treated with decency and dignity. That’s been missing in a big way the last four years,” Biden told the appointees he swore in.

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