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Government Executive Editor in Chief Tom Shoop, along with other editors and staff correspondents, look at the federal bureaucracy from the outside in.

The One Federal Agency Donald Trump Loves

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The Old Post Office Pavilion The Old Post Office Pavilion Flickr user Ken Lund

It’s no secret that Donald Trump is not a fan of many federal agencies. He’s called the management of the Veterans Affairs Department “ absolutely unacceptable,” singled out the Education Department and Environmental Protection Agency as candidates for major cuts, and said he sees waste, fraud and abuse “all over the place” in federal operations.

But there’s one agency that Trump has repeatedly lauded: the General Services Administration.

The reason? It has to do, not surprisingly, with real estate -- specifically, with GSA picking Trump to renovate the Old Post Office Building in downtown Washington and turn it into a luxury hotel. Last month, Trump’s organization announced that the hotel would open in September, two years ahead of schedule. “It was an honor to have dealt with the professionals at the General Services Administration,” Trump said in announcing the opening. “It was their total passion and hard work that helped bring this unrivaled project to fruition.”

Trump sang the praises of GSA again Thursday at a rally in Portland, Maine. In touting his company’s work with GSA on the Old Post Office project -- which he characterized as “just about the hottest job that they’ve ever put out to bid” -- Trump said, “and by the way, the GSA people are terrific people.”

In his remarks, Trump noted that his bid for the project “was in the Obama administration, in all fairness. I wouldn’t say I had an advantage.”

In a blog post this week at FCW, Steve Kelman writes that he got a personal note from Trump when he raised that very issue in a previous post in June 2014. In many countries around the world, Kelman noted in his first post, it would be unthinkable for a political enemy of a sitting president to win such a significant contract. Trump sent Kelman a marked-up printout of the post, thanking him “for the nice words” and saying it would be “EASY” to beat the deadline for the project.

Photo: Flickr user Ken Lund

Tom Shoop is vice president and editor in chief at Government Executive Media Group, where he oversees both print and online editorial operations. He started as associate editor of Government Executive magazine in 1989; launched the company’s flagship website, GovExec.com, in 1996; and was named editor in chief in 2007.

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