“Everything coming out of NOAA does not reflect this administration,” said David Schnare, a retired lawyer for an industry-backed think tank who served on Trump’s transition team and is skeptical about climate change. “It reflects the last one.”

That’s true across the government as some of the roughly two million career staff have found ways to obstruct, slow down or simply ignore their new leader, the president.

Staff at the Securities and Exchange Commission, for example, issued a report contradicting the White House’s position about the negative effects of banking regulations. The State Department’s embassy staff preserved Obama-era programs to boost the economies of developing countries — at odds with Trump’s “America First” campaign pledges — not by changing the substance of the programs but merely by relabeling them as a way to create markets for U.S. exports.

Perhaps no policy area better illustrates the dynamic than climate change. A report commissioned by the energy secretary to explore the dangers of wind and solar energy to the power grid initially found just the opposite. Pentagon staffers effectively stalled a Trump reversal of an Obama policy on climate change and national security by initiating a review that’s apparently still underway nine months later. Federal procurement officials have kept promoting zero-emission vehicles but by focusing on economic gains rather than environmental benefits.

Two factors may be making it harder for this White House to impose order: a desire to reorient major agencies from their traditional missions and the slow pace at which it has filled key posts. Less than two-thirds as many appointments have been submitted and won Senate confirmation as were in place at this time during the Obama administration.



Washington Bureaucrats Are Chipping Away at Trump’s Agenda
Across the government, career staffers are quietly finding ways to continue old policies, sometimes just by renaming a project.