President Trump claimed, without any evidence, that “many people” in the White House applauded after impeachment probe witness Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman was escorted out of the building last Friday following his ouster from the National Security Council.
A day after Vindman and his twin brother were abruptly fired in an ongoing campaign of retribution against his perceived political foes, Trump piled on in a series of tweets. On Saturday, Trump tweeted that he didn’t know Vindman but claimed he was “very insubordinate.”
Trump has received backlash from both Vindman’s former supervisor and former White House chief of staff John Kelly since Vindman’s ouster. On Monday, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway shrugged off the firing of the Vindman brothers by telling “Fox and Friends” hosts on Monday that “they didn’t get fired, they just got relocated.”
Trump made his latest comments Thursday in a podcast interview with Fox News host Geraldo Rivera, who characterized the vibe in the West Wing being “a nest of vipers and snitches and backstabbers and rats.” Trump then railed against Vindman for saying “terrible things” about his now-infamous July call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during his impeachment inquiry testimony.
“First of all, that’s very insubordinate, why wouldn’t he go to his immediate – he went to Congress or he went to Schiff or he went to somebody,” Trump said.
Trump then claimed that “Vindman was the guy that, when we took him out of the building, the building applauded.”
“I don’t know if you heard that,” Trump told Rivera, who said he was unaware of the supposed applause. “The whole building, many of the people in the building started applauding.”
Trump added that he’s “not a fan of Vindman” and denied that he ever met him.
“Just so you understand, many of these people I’ve never met,” Trump said. “But I’m not a fan of Vindman, no question about it.”
When TPM asked for comment regarding Trump’s claim, the White House declined to comment on the record.
Listen to Trump’s remarks on Vindman below starting at the 10:30 mark: