According to the White House, the Biden administration dismissed 18 Trump appointees to US military academy boards named during the final months of the Republican president’s tenure in office.
On Wednesday, the White House revealed that Trump appointees to military service academy advisory boards, including Sean Spicer and adviser Kellyanne Conway, had been asked to resign — or face termination.
Cathy Russell, the director of White House Presidential Personnel Office, addressed letters to 18 individuals named to the Air Force Academy, Military Academy, and Naval Academy boards of visitors, urging that they resign by Wednesday’s close of business or risk dismissal.
Among those axed by Biden are several notable Trump administration chiefs, namely White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, press secretary Sean Spicer, national security adviser H.R. McMaster, and Office of Management and Budget Director Russell Vought.
The White House press secretary acknowledged that former Trump officials were asked to resign or face termination. It was not immediately evident whether any of those invited to resign did so by the White House-imposed deadline of 6 p.m.
Jen Psaki was open to allowing others to weigh up whether Kellyanne Conway, Sean Spicer, and others were competent, or not, to serve on those boards, but the president’s qualification requirements are not Republican party registration; they care whether you are fit to serve and align with the Biden administration’s values.
Jen Psaki stated that the president’s intent is the same as any president’s — to ensure that candidates and the membership of these boards are qualified and aligned with your values. Thus, that was a request made.
The Military Academy Boards
Advisory boards function to advise the respective academies on a non-binding framework.
According to the United States Military Academy at West Point & the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, the boards investigate morale and discipline, curriculum and instruction, physical equipment, economic issues, and academic techniques, among other things.
Each board is composed of a mix of elected representatives and presidential appointees. Under the Trump administration, members appointed by Barack Obama stayed in office.
Spicer, commander in the US naval reserve, was appointed to Trump’s naval academy’s advisory board. Conway, who served as Trump’s campaign manager in 2016, was appointed to the board of directors of the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs.
The Push Back
Most of those pushed to resign protested. Conway took a swipe at Biden, stating that she would not resign but that Biden should. In a statement, she described it as a regrettable but understandable attempt to divert attention away from the shambolic US retreat from Afghanistan, an increase in COVID-19 cases, and a disappointing August jobs report.
Spicer, who works for the conservative news outlet Newsmax, attacked Biden on social media for pushing to oust Trump appointees rather than fixating on the stuck Americans in Afghanistan.
Spicer tweeted that Biden should instead focus on “the stranded Americans remaining in Afghanistan” and later addressed Psaki directly on his Newsmax show.
“Do you dare dispute or diminish my service to this country? You got it?” According to Spicer. “This move has elevated partisanship to an entirely new level.” Spicer accused Psaki of exaggerating his military experience, and the service of other veterans appointed to Trump’s boards. He stated that he wanted to challenge the ruling in court.
Spicer and Russ Vought, Trump’s director of the Office of Management and Budget, who also got placement to the naval academy board, tweeted a White House letter stating that they would be fired “effective 6 p.m. tonight” if they did not resign.
Vought reacted on Twitter to Russell’s message, “No.” It is a three-year term.”
Jonathan Hiler, a Navy academy graduate who served as Vice President Mike Pence’s director of legislative affairs, stated that he was “not resigning.”
“Hillers holds that, as a former naval officer and alum, creating leaders fit to defend the country’s interests at sea—the USNA’s mission—should not be consumed by factional politics.” President Biden, it appears, feels differently. ” Hiler remarked on Twitter.
HR McMaster, a retired army general who served as Trump’s second national security advisor, was appointed to the board of directors at West Point, where he is slated to receive an honorary degree this weekend.
Trump also appointed Jack Keane, a retired general and close adviser, Guy Swan, a retired general, Douglas Macgregor, a retired colonel, and Pentagon official, Meaghan Mobbs, a West Point graduate and psychologist, and David Urban, a West Point graduate, lobbyist, political strategist, and occasional Trump adviser, to the West Point faculty.
All were asked to resign or face termination. McMaster did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Keane stated that he was “very disappointed.” Urban concurs with Mobbs’ assessment of the move as “unconscionable.”
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