Andrew Saul, the just-fired head of the Social Security Administration (SSA) has vowed he will fight his termination in federal court. On Friday, President Joe Biden fired the SSA Commissioner after the Trump administration appointee reportedly refused to resign.
A White House official said President Biden had asked Saul to resign as Commissioner and Saul refused. He was later notified his employment as commissioner was terminated immediately. Biden also asked for the resignation of David Black, the agency’s deputy commissioner, who did resign, according to a White House official. The Washington was first to report news of Saul’s firing.
In an interview with the Washington post on Friday, Saul said he questions the legality of the White House decision to fire him. His term was supposed to last until January 2025. The White House told the paper that a recent U.S. Supreme court decision gave the power to replace him.
“This was the first I or my deputy knew this was coming,” Saul said of his firing. “It was a bolt of lightning no one expected. And right now, it’s left the agency in complete turmoil,” Saul added. Saul described the firing as a “Friday Night Massacre,” a reference to President Richard Nixon’s “Saturday Night Massacre,” which included a string of firings by the president during the Watergate scandal.
Saul had previously refused President Joe Biden’s resignation request, although Biden had announced that he would continue to run the SSA during the early days of his administration.
“I consider myself the term-protected Commissioner of Social Security,” he told The Post. He said he would attempt to log in to work remotely on Monday, and threatened to sue if unable to do so.
Republic lawmakers were swift to criticize Biden for the move, claiming the administration is injecting politics into a typically apolitical agency. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), called the move “outrageous” in a tweet Friday, noting the commissioner is appointed to a six-year term and was confirmed with a bipartisan vote in 2019.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch Mcconnell (R-KY) also laced into the administration for the move in a Friday tweet. “This removal would be an unprecedented and dangerous politicization of the Social Security Administration, “McConnell said.