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SOCO Student Media from Colorado State University Pueblo

The Today

SOCO Student Media from Colorado State University Pueblo

The Today

SOCO Student Media from Colorado State University Pueblo

The Today

President Biden fires Capitol’s Architect

Photo provided by Unsplash, Andy Feliciotti.

By Julian Volk

President Biden fired the Capitol’s architect, J. Brett Blanton, after weeks of people calling for his resignation on Feb. 13, 2023. 

The termination came after claims that he was absent during the Jan. 6, 2021, riot that saw upwards of 2,000 Trump supporters storm the Capitol. The mob intended to break into the Capitol and attack many House members residing there for work. 

In the fall of 2022, an inspector general report said Blanton abused government property and wasted American taxpayer dollars. Blanton also was accused of giving tours of the Capitol to potential members of the mob leading up to the Jan. 6 incident.

Blanton oversaw the maintenance and operation of the Capitol building and the surrounding complex and grounds. Blanton’s absence from the complex on Jan. 6 was bizarre as he was known to be around the grounds through most of the week. 

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said that he had questioned Blanton’s ability to continue to watch over the Capitol’s grounds. 

“The Architect of the Capitol, Brett Blanton, no longer has my confidence to continue his job,” tweeted McCarthy, “He should resign, or President Biden should remove him immediately.”

Blanton testified that he was not present at the Capitol due to a “telework” day because of COVID-19 protocols.

Blanton also came under fire when the investigation uncovered that he had been letting his daughter and wife use his work vehicle unauthorized. Blanton put around 30,000 miles on the car when the original estimation of how much he would need was only 10,000.

The unauthorized use of the vehicle sparked the investigation in the first place when an anonymous tip drew attention to Blanton. The inspector claimed they had gotten a hotline tip in March of 2021 claiming misuse of an Architect of Capitol (AOC) vehicle. The vehicle’s original intended use was for “work to home” purposes.

The tipper claimed the Ford Explorer had been driving recklessly and dangerously in a parking garage and turning out of the parking garage around 65 miles per hour in a 30 miles per hour zone. According to United States News, the report also claimed that a woman, later confirmed as Blanton’s daughter, made obscene gestures towards them at a stop.

The investigation uncovered that the Blanton family had racked up charges of $13,926.52, well over the estimated cost. Blanton’s daughter was also reported as referring to the AOC vehicle as “free gas.”

The report also found that the Ford Explorer was involved in a hit-and-run incident in 2020. The incident had taken place outside of Blanton’s home. He was reportedly let go after misrepresenting himself as an officer of the law but has denied said allegations, according to The Hill’s Alex Gangitano.

Trump placed Blanton into his position as AOC on Dec. 9, 2021, being confirmed the same month on Dec. 20. He was the 12th AOC and served just over three years in his position before his removal.

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