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Friday, February 3, 2023

Biden administration tells ex-Trump officials to resign from military academy advisory boards or be dismissed

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The officials asked to resign include prominent former Trump officials like 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 appointed to the advisory boards of the Naval Academy, Air Force Academy and West Point respectively.

Other more prominent names include ​​Heidi Stirrup, the former White House liaison to the Justice Department who was banned from entering the building after she attempted to access sensitive information about possible election fraud in December 2020, and retired Col. Douglas Macgregor, a former ambassador pick and Pentagon official with a history of controversial comments. The duo were appointed to the boards of the Air Force Academy and West Point.

Other appointees who have been asked to resign are Michael Wynne, who was appointed to the board of the Air Force Academy; retired Gen. John Keane, Meaghan Mobbs, and David Urban 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.

The military academy advisory boards, according to the Air Force Academy website, were established to oversee the “morale, discipline, social climate, curriculum, instruction, physical equipment, fiscal affairs, academic methods, and other matters” relating to the nation’s military academies. The board for each academy meets several times a year and its members provide independent advice and recommendations to the President.

The members typically serve out three-year terms. At least one Trump appointee, Vought, has signaled he will not resign.

“No. It’s a three year term,” Vought tweeted, attaching an image of the letter requesting his resignation.

When reached for comment by CNN, Spicer said he intends to respond to the resignation demand on his show. Wynne told CNN “it was an honor to be on the board,” and said he was disappointed he wasn’t asked to remain on the board.

“Very disappointed to see the Biden administration not honor a previous president’s appointment to the board of visitors, which has been the tradition for years,” Keane told CNN.

In a statement, Mobbs said she would not be resigning.

“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.”

CNN has also reached out to Conway, Macgregor, Urban, Stirrup, Coale and McMaster for comment.

CNN’s KFile has previously reported that Macgregor, who served in the Trump administration as a senior Pentagon adviser and was nominated to the West Point board late last year, disparaged immigrants, refugees and minorities and spread conspiracy theories that the Biden administration was replacing White people of European ancestry.


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