As a presidential candidate, President Biden vowed that his administration will be one of unity and diversity. Apparently, that only applies to those who conform to his views.
In yet another politicization of non-partisan advisory panels, the Biden administration has asked for the resignation of several members of the military academies’ advisory boards who were appointed by President Trump.
The boards of the Military Academy at West Point, Naval Academy in Annapolis, and Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs meet several times a year to provide non-binding advice on issues like academic curriculum, student morale, and institutional needs.
Members on the advisory boards usually serve three-year terms, even across presidential administrations. Several members appointed by President Barack Obama at the end of his term served several years into the Trump administration.
However, Cathy Russell, the director of the White House’s Presidential Personnel Office, sent letters to 18 individuals on three different boards, asking for them to resign on Wednesday. The list includes the Board of Visitors to the Air Force Academy, Military Academy, and the Naval Academy, the White House said.
One of the letters that Russell sent was to Russell Vought. It informed him that he’d be fired from his post on the Naval Academy’s Board of Visitors unless he resigned immediately. Politico published the letter and Russell posted it on Twitter.
“On behalf of President Biden, I am writing to request your resignation as a Member of the Board of Visitors to the U.S. Naval Academy. Please submit your resignation to me by the close of business today. Should we not receive your resignation, your position with the Board will be terminated effective 6:00 p.m. tonight.”
Vought answered the following,
— Russ Vought (@russvought) September 8, 2021
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki later confirmed the firings in a briefing on Wednesday afternoon. She reiterated that only members who are in line with the administration’s values will be allowed to serve on the advisory boards.
“The president’s objective is what any president’s objective is, which was [sic] to ensure that you have nominees and people serving on these boards who are qualified to serve on them, not your party registration, they are [sic] whether you are aligned with the values of this administration,” Psaki said.
From her comments, it sounds like party affiliation is the deciding factor.
The fired members from the West Point advisory board are former National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster; former Army Vice Chief Gen. Jack Keane, former Pentagon Senior Adviser Douglas Macgregor, former U.S. Army North commander Guy Swan III, and West Point graduate David Urban, who was named the chairman of the American Battle Monuments Commission by the Trump administration.
The members fired from the Board of Visitors to the Naval Academy include former White House Chief of Staff Sean Spicer, former White House Budget Director Russ Vought, and lawyer John Coale.
The Air Force Board included Trump appointees Kellyanne Conway and Heidi Stirrup. Conway blasted Biden in a letter she posted on Twitter stating, “Your decision is disappointing but understandable given the need to distract from a news cycle that has you mired in multiple self-inflicted crises and plummeting poll numbers.” She added, “I’m not resigning, but you should.”
No announcement on who will replace the fired appointees has yet been made.