The Biden administration has asked 11 former Trump officials appointed to military service academy advisory boards to resign before facing removal.
CNN first reported the news.
The former Trump officials that the administration is asking to resign include former White House press secretary Sean Spicer, former senior counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway and former national security adviser H.R. McMaster. They were tapped to serve on the advisory boards of the Naval Academy, Air Force Academy and West Point, respectively.
During a briefing on Wednesday afternoon, White House press secretary Jen Psaki confirmed the administration’s request to the former Trump officials.
“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 said.
Psaki added that she will leave it up to others to assess whether Conway, Spicer and other former Trump officials “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,” Psaki said.
CNN reported that other prominent former Trump officials that the administration called on to resign from military academy advisory boards include Heidi Stirrup, ex-White House liaison to the Justice Department who was banned from entering the building after she tried to access sensitive information in an effort to bolster unfounded claims of election fraud last December, and retired Col. Douglas Macgregor, a former ambassador pick and Pentagon official who came under fire for a slew of incendiary remarks. Stirrup and Macgregor serve on the boards of the Air Force Academy and West Point.
Additionally, the administration requested resignations from Michael Wynne, who was appointed to the board of the Air Force Academy; retired Gen. John Keane, Meaghan Mobbs, and David Urban who were appointed to the board of West Point; and John Coale and Russell Vought, Trump’s former director of the Office of Management and Budget, appointed to the Naval Academy’s board.
Earlier this month, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin agreed to restart 16 defense advisory boards after essentially purging a number of members who were appointed in the final days of the Trump administration.
Military academy advisory boards meet several times a year and its members, who typically serve out three-year terms, give independent advice and recommendations to the President.
The former Trump officials targeted in the Biden administration’s resignation request have begun pushing back.
— Russ Vought (@russvought) September 8, 2021
President Biden, I'm not resigning, but you should. pic.twitter.com/HuRYM4bLYP
— Kellyanne Conway (@KellyannePolls) September 8, 2021
Spicer told CNN that he plans to respond to the Biden administration’s resignation demand on hi show.
According to CNN, Wynn said “it was an honor to be on the board” and that he’s disappointed he wasn’t asked to remain on it.
Keane told CNN that he is “very disappointed” by the administration’s resignation request.
Mobbs maintained that she has no plans to resign in a statement shared with CNN.
“Frankly, I find this whole act unconscionable and not all in the spirit by which this Administration promised to govern. President Biden ran on a supposed platform of unity but his actions speak directly to the contrary. Apparently, unity is only for those who conform,” Mobbs said. “When I joined the Board under the Trump Administration, there were holdovers from the Obama Administration. They were not terminated but instead served alongside Trump appointees. This mix of perspective, experience, and belief systems ensured there was diversity – a value the Democratic party purports to hold above all else.”
Urban told CNN that he agrees with Mobb’s statement.