The Biden administration warned a number of Trump-era officials appointed to military service academy advisory boards this week that they will be fired if they don’t immediately resign from the positions, including Kellyanne Conway and other prominent Trump officials.
Those told to resign include former White House press secretary Sean Spicer; former senior counselor to President Trump, Kellyanne Conway; and former national security advisor H.R. McMaster. The officials sit on the advisory boards of the Naval Academy, Air Force Academy and West Point, respectively.
According to CNN, other prominent figures who were told to resign include former White House liaison to the Justice Department, Heidi Stirrup, and former ambassador choice and Pentagon official, Col. Douglas Macgregor. Additionally, Michael Wynne, Gen. John Keane, Meaghan Mobbs, David Urban, John Coale and Mr. Vought were all told to step down.
On Wednesday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki confirmed the request, claiming it was made to ensure those serving on the boards are “qualified.”
“The President’s objective is what any president’s objective is — to ensure you have nominees and people serving on these boards who are qualified to serve on them and who are aligned with your values. And so yes, that was an ask that was made,” Psaki told reporters during a White House press briefing.
“I will let others evaluate whether they think Kellyanne Conway and Sean Spicer and others were qualified, or not political, to serve on these boards, but the President’s qualification requirements are not your party registration, they are whether you’re qualified to serve and whether you’re aligned with the values of this administration,” she added.
Sean Spicer, a U.S. Navy Reserve commander who previously served as former President Donald Trump’s press secretary, shot back at Psaki, warning her never that the president’s unprecedented move “has taken partisanship to a new level.”
“I’ve followed tradition. Press secretaries never comment on the previous press secretary or the current one and I’ve respected that. I haven’t responded to Jen or reacted to her, but she crossed a line today. She chose to bring me into this,” Spicer said on Newsmax. “So, Jen, you want to know about my qualifications? Joining the military and wearing the uniform of this amazing country remains one of my greatest decisions in life. For 22 years, I’ve had the honor of serving alongside some of the most talented, patriotic and brave individuals this country has to offer.”
Spicer said he is a “proud graduate” of the U.S. Naval War College and served multiple tours, never letting politics enter into his service. He noted that he has served under “five different presidents in both parties” and took an oath “to the constitution, not to a party.”
“Each of us chooses how we’re going to serve this country. I won’t ever question how anyone chooses to do that. I won’t question how you choose to do that, Jen. But don’t you dare ever minimize or question my service to this nation. You got it?” he said. “These bodies have been free from politics and worked in a bipartisan way until today. This administration made them political. Not one Obama appointee on these boards was removed when Trump came in. Not a single one. This move has taken partisanship to a new level.”
Kellyanne Conway also fired back at the Biden administration, sharing her response letter to Biden’s demand on Twitter. “President Biden, I’m not resigning, but you should,” she tweeted along with the letter.
Russ Vought, one of the Trump appointees told to resign, shared an image of the letter sent by the Biden administration on Twitter. It stated: “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 pm tonight. Thank you.”
In response to the letter, Vought tagged the White House and tweeted, “No. It’s a three year term.”