(WASHINGTON) — President Joe Biden on Monday fired the U.S. Capitol’s top manager after lawmakers in both parties called for the scandal-plagued architect’s ouster.
Brett Blanton, the architect of the Capitol, was terminated at Biden’s direction, a White House official confirmed.
The official said the administration did its due diligence in the case after a watchdog report revealed what it called multiple allegations of misuse of resources and misconduct in his role. The architect’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Blanton was appointed to the role by former President Donald Trump and took office in 2020. He is now leaving seven years before the end of his term.
Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle grew infuriated in recent days over the report alleging widespread wrongdoing in his role, including misusing official vehicles for personal purposes and improperly identifying himself as a law enforcement officer when he chased down the perpetrator of a hit-and-run near his home.
Blanton also admitted in a congressional hearing last week that he avoided coming to the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, the day a pro-Trump mob ransacked the Capitol, saying he thought it wouldn’t be “prudent” to be on the premises that day.
The Office of Inspector General found Blanton’s wife gave an unauthorized tour of the Capitol to what she called “patriots” in the days leading up to the 2020 election while the building was closed to the public.
“The Architect of the Capitol, Brett Blanton, no longer has my confidence to continue in his job. He should resign or President Biden should remove him immediately,” Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., tweeted Monday before Blanton’s firing was reported.
It is not immediately clear who will replace Blanton on a temporary basis given that the role for his deputy is currently vacant. Mark Reed, the current chief of operations who is currently serving in an acting capacity, is next in line.
To replace Blanton permanently, a bicameral and bipartisan congressional commission of 14 lawmakers is convened to offer a list of suggestions. Biden will ultimately choose from that list.
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