President Biden fired Trump-era Social Security Commissioner Andrew Saul on Friday morning to undermine and politicize Social Security benefits, according to a White House official.
The president asked for the resignation of Saul and Deputy Commissioner David Black, the official said. Black agreed to resign, but Saul refused, so he was told that his employment had ended.
The Biden administration considered Saul’s actions as commissioner to be “in conflict” with the Social Security Administration’s mission and Mr Biden’s agenda. Among other issues, the White House complained that Saul was ending SSA̵
Sir. Biden has appointed Kilolo Kijakazi to serve as commissioner until a commissioner and deputy are appointed. Kijakazi is currently Deputy Commissioner for Retirement and Disability at SSA.
The Washington Post, which first reported Saul’s firing, spoke with Saul on Friday afternoon. He told the Post that he would not leave his post because he does not believe the president has the authority to fire him, as the IRS as an independent agency does not normally change leadership with a new administration from another party. Saul was appointed in 2019 by then-President Trump to fill an expiration period and to a new appointment that was to extend until 2025.
However, White House official Saul disputed that Mr. Biden can not fire him, saying “Given the Supreme Court’s precedent, we believe the president has the authority to remove these officials.” It is likely a reference to the Supreme Court’s statement in a case concerning the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, an independent agency in which judges ruled that the director of the agency “should be able to be removed by the president of his choice.”
Saul has not yet responded to CBS News’ request for comment. According to the Post, he plans to log in from home in New York for work on Monday.