After beating impeachment, President Donald Trump is taking steps to preempt another coup.
Some 70 hold-overs from the Obama administration have been fired, the Washington Examiner’s Paul Bedard reported, including members of the National Security Council (NSC). This comes after the ousting of NSC aide Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman and former ambassador Gordon Sondland, who both testified against Trump in public impeachment hearings.
After impeachment, Trump cleans house
Democrats immediately claimed that Trump, newly emboldened by his acquittal, was purging disloyal officials after he dismissed Sondland and Vindman on Friday. Apparently lacking any frame of reference other than Watergate, Democrats quickly declared a “Friday Night Massacre” was underway.
But the clean-up seems to have expanded, as Trump’s national security adviser Robert O’Brien has decided to fire some 70 staffers from the Obama era, including NSC members, Bedard reported. O’Brien said that the White House is following through on a plan dating from October to trim the fat at the NSC, which expanded to more than 200 officials under Obama from the roughly 100 it had under President George W. Bush.
“We think a more efficient NSC and leaner NSC is a more effective NSC,” O’Brien told reporters on Monday. “This is something that people in both parties have been concerned about in the past, the size of the NSC. So I think we’ve streamlined it. We’re reforming it.”
As Bedard notes, many NSC officials are there on loan from other agencies. Vindman will return to work at the Pentagon after he was escorted out of the White House along with his brother, Lt. Col. Yevgeny Vindman, who was an NSC lawyer.
Dems cry retaliation
Throughout the impeachment saga, Democrats and the media lavished sentimental tributes on Vindman and other members of the foreign service for testifying against Trump, who they likened to a tyrant. Democrats claimed that Trump is retaliating against an American patriot for the crime of speaking the truth.
In a letter Monday, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) called on the federal government’s 74 inspectors general to protect whistleblowers from retaliation by Trump. The Democrat claimed that Vindman was “viciously attacked” for “bravely stepping forward to tell the truth.”
But Trump has said that Vindman was “very insubordinate, reported contents of my ‘perfect’ calls incorrectly, & … was given a horrendous report by his superior, the man he reported to.” The president’s allies agree, saying that Vindman was disloyal and that the president must be able to trust his staffers.
Republicans: It was long overdue
Many Republicans have expressed concern about the president’s ability to execute his diplomatic duties faithfully after his impeachment brought the contents of a private conversation with Ukraine’s president out into the public. Some have even suggested that Vindman was a leaker and co-conspirator with the Ukraine whistleblower, whose complaint sparked the process.
The alleged whistleblower was also a former NSC staffer and an Obama holdover, the Washington Examiner has reported. Vindman refused to comment on the anonymous whistleblower when pressed by Republicans during his House testimony.
Vindman, of course, is not the only newfound “patriot” in the eyes of the Resistance. Liberal pundits and Democrats showered praise on Senator Mitt Romney of Utah (R), a man they once labeled a bigot, for having the “courage” to vote for Trump’s conviction on “abuse of power.”