President Biden fired the Architect of the Capitol Brett Blanton on Monday, a White House official told The Hill, following outrage over an inspector general report that found Blanton misused a government vehicle and allegedly impersonated a law enforcement officer.
“After doing our due diligence, the Architect of Capitol was terminated at the President’s direction,” the official said.
The president’s move comes just hours after House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) called for Blanton to step down or be removed by Biden.
House Administration Committee Chairman Bryan Steil (R-Wis.) and Ranking Member Joe Morelle (D-N.Y.) had also called for the resignation of the Architect of the Capitol, who oversees the Capitol complex’s building maintenance, preservation and development.
The White House earlier this month was asked about the inspector general report Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said at the time Biden was “taking this very seriously” and would “take any advice that the members of Congress or any action that they want to take very seriously.”
Only the president has the authority to fire the Architect of the Capitol. Blanton was nominated by former President Trump to a 10-year term as Architect of the Capitol, and was confirmed by the Senate in December 2019.
The inspector general report released in October found that Blanton and his family had misused Architect of the Capitol vehicles intended for home-to-work use as personal vehicles, resulting in nearly $14,000 worth of inappropriate costs. Additionally, Blanton had been improperly identified as an off-duty police officer during an incident when he chased down a hit-and-run that happened outside his residence.
He had denied misrepresenting himself as law enforcement, saying that it was a mistake on the part of Fairfax County Police after Blanton identified himself a “Capitol Police Board Member.”
Blanton as Architect of the Capitol is one of three members of the Capitol Police Board, which oversees the U.S. Capitol Police.
Blanton was grilled last week by the House Administration on the report.
Updated 2:53 p.m.