Psaki Trips Herself up Over Firing of Military Advisory Board Members After Kellyanne Conway Levels Her

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Joe Biden caused a storm of controversy after the White House send out notices to military academy advisory board members yesterday who had been appointed by President Donald Trump to three-year terms that they needed to resign by 6:00 p.m. or they would be fired from the boards.

The terminations include Naval Reserve officer Sean Spicer, Kellyanne Conway, Russ Vought, Meghan Mobbs, former National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, Heidi Stirrup, Michael Wynne, Gen. Jack Keane, Douglas Macgregor, Guy Swan III, David Urban, Jonathan Hiler, John Coale, Anthony Parker, and Joseph Walsh.

Six of the appointees asked to resign serve with the Air Force Academy, six serve with the Military Academy, and six serve with the Naval Academy. The appointees are supposed to serve for three years. There is no provision for the president being able to fire them.

When Jen Psaki announced this, she tried to make it sound like it was a normal thing to do and mentioned Spicer and Conway to suggest that somehow the people weren’t qualified to serve on these military boards. However, many of the people have extensive military experience. Beyond that, it’s not normal to fire them; it’s traditional that they serve out their terms, even into the term of another president. For example, President Donald Trump didn’t fire the people who were still serving three-year terms leftover from Barack Obama. The point is to be non-political to comment on and advise on things going on with the particular academies.

Several of the people refused to comply, saying they wouldn’t resign and/or it wasn’t within Biden’s power to fire them from the boards and that Biden was making an explicitly political move, trying to politicize the academies.

Spicer said not only wouldn’t he be resigning but he would be joining a lawsuit to fight the firings.

One of the best responses was from Kellyanne Conway who said that she wasn’t resigning, but Biden should.

Conway busted Biden for breaking “presidential norms,” saying Biden’s move seemed “petty and political, if not personal.”

“Your decision is disappointing but understandable given the need to distract from a news cycle that has you mired in multiple self-inflicted crises and plummeting poll numbers, including a rise in new COVID cases, a dismal jobs report, inflation, record amount of drugs coming across the southern border, and, of course, the chaotic and deadly withdrawal from Afghanistan that has left hundreds of Americans and thousands of Afghan allies stranded under Taliban rule,” Conway said.

Psaki, today, tried to cover herself, claiming that it wasn’t political, but in the next breath made it clear that it was explicitly political, saying that “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.”

“Values of this administration” makes clear that the hatchet was specifically because these folks likely wouldn’t go along with the politicization of the academies. Indeed, both Vought and Stirrup have raised questions in the past about critical race theory being taught. Vought has also been investigating Biden administration ties to a CRT group.

She then even insulted the appointees and Trump, “There are some people, of course, on these boards who have supported or stood by silently while their former boss supported an insurrection,” the White House press secretary told CNN’s New Day, attacking them to try to cover up Biden’s clear politicization. “That’s not really okay with us.”

Biden had already purged people appointed by Trump from Pentagon advisory boards in February.

Bottom line? They’re trying to change the military academies and inject their politics, and they want to remove any eyes that might object.