On January 20, 2017, 30 Schedule Cs (Political Appointees) will walk out the door of the agency. They have already submitted their letters of resignation to the White House. In their place, civil servants, not connected to anyone’s campaign, past or present, will take over running the agency.
It could be months before the new administration gets around to appointing a new corps of 30 Schedule Cs to run the agency. One thing we can be pretty sure of, none of them will come from the ranks of RPCVs.
The question remains: will there be a Peace Corps in the Age of Trump?
The word from Washington is that the Peace Corps has a good deal of support on both sides of the aisle and that it even might grow in the years ahead. Some conservative Republican congressmen and senators, I’m told, would like to dismantle certain agencies and give that funding to the Peace Corps.
That, I doubt, will happen.
Nevertheless, there is a strong base of support from RPCVs in Congress, and “Friends of the Peace Corps” that will keep the agency from being eliminated by the new president.
What I see happening within the next four years is that Peace Corps HQ in downtown D.C., its third location in 55 years, will be closed and the agency moved out of the high-rent district of DC. I see GSA cutting costs for an agency that isn’t in favor by the White House.
While previous Directors like Mark Gearan wanted to make HQ a tour stop for visiting high school students with an exhibition hall, and created “office space” for recently returned RPCVs seeking help as they readjusted to the US and look for jobs, that effort was stopped by Peace Corps Director Gaddie Vasquez, the former California cop who kicked out RPCVs when he took over the Director’s job.
Today, with no ‘real’ reason for the agency to have a convenient and assessable downtown DC office space, my guess the office will be moved beyond the Beltway, perhaps to share space with the U.S. Census Bureau in Suitland, Maryland southeast of the District.
The first Peace Corps Office — the Maiatico Building — was across the Lafayette Park from the White House and had STATUS. Today, under the new administration, the Peace Corps might be nothing more than yesterday’s news, a liberal idea. When once the Peace Corps was loved like “Mom’s apple pie,” today it might be thought of as ‘humble pie.” You know, “just helping foreigners.”
Who needs Peace Corps Volunteers to make America great again? Not The Donald.