Stephen Miller, one of former President Donald Trump’s closest advisers, is suing the Biden administration for its petty decision to purge two former Trump officials from the non-partisan Board of Visitors of the U.S. Naval Academy.
According to Fox News, Miller’s America First Legal is representing Sean Spicer and Russ Vought in the lawsuit that challenges their firings.
In a press release, America First Legal slammed President Joe Biden’s move as “unprecedented” partisan retaliation that has no legal justification.
Biden has no constitutional authority to terminate Spicer and Vought because their positions are purely advisory and they do not wield any executive power, America First Legal said in its complaint. Both men were appointed by President Trump.
Advisers on the Board of Visitors typically are permitted to serve their full, three-year terms “notwithstanding a change in administrations,” the firm noted, which makes Biden’s move unusual. Axios also noted that Biden is politicizing a typically non-partisan system.
Spicer’s term was set to end this December, and Vought’s was to end in December 2023. But they received identical letters from the White House warning, “on behalf of President Biden,” that they would be terminated if they refused to step down.
Jen Psaki, Biden’s press secretary, said they were fired because they are not qualified, according to The Hill. America First Legal condemned Biden’s “illegal partisan power grab,” calling it “another example of the Biden Administration breaking longstanding bipartisan norms and traditions.”
The lawsuit asks for a “temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to prevent this unlawful removal.”
Vought, for his part, served as the chief of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under Trump, and Spicer was Trump’s first press secretary.
According to The Hill, Biden has ordered Trump officials to be fired from the advisory boards of the U.S. military’s Naval Academy, Air Force Academy, and Army’s West Point, including Spicer, Vought, and former senior Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway, among others.
America First Legal Vice-President and General Counsel Gene Hamilton said that Biden’s actions against Spicer and Vought bely his claim that he would unite the country, and that it appears Biden is looking for a distraction from his failures.
“For a President who has pledged to unify the country, terminating two highly qualified individuals from serving on this Board instead of focusing on the botched withdrawal from Afghanistan that left Americans stranded, is clearly an attempt to distract the American people,” Hamilton said, as The Hill reported.