President Donald Trump’s retaliatory behavior toward Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman for testifying against him during impeachment hearings last year just drew a strong rebuke by over 1,000 veterans in an open letter on Tuesday.
In the aftermath of being acquitted by the Senate in a rigged impeachment trial, Trump sought revenge against impeachment witnesses, starting with removing Vindman and his twin brother from their posts with the National Security Council.
In addition, Trump demanded that the Pentagon punish Vindman as well even though he was only doing his duty by testifying about Trump’s July 25th phone call with Ukraine President Zelensky in which Trump asked for a “favor” in exchange for military aid. Vindman’s testimony was damning.
Trump’s unlawful retaliation against Vindman did not go unnoticed by veterans, who wrote a letter condemning it.
“The president should know that, despite taking aim at one Army officer, he has targeted anyone who currently wears — or has worn — the uniform,” the veterans wrote. “Our service members and veterans deserve the confidence of knowing that our elected leaders will come to their defense, just as they remain vigilant for ours.”
“The President’s actions and insults towards LTC Vindman are not only wrong, but they also carry dangerous implications,” the group continued. “The dismissal of LTC Vindman and his brother, also an Army Lieutenant Colonel, from the National Security Council staff appears to be motivated by nothing more than political retribution and deprives the White House of expertise necessary to defend our collective national security. The manner of these dismissals suggests that the Commander-in-Chief has prioritized a personal vendetta over our national security.”
The group went on to point out that Trump’s attacks are an assault on the military code of conduct and his behavior toward the Purple Heart recipient stands in stark contrast to his treatment of war criminals he has pardoned.
The President’s slander of LTC Vindman, moreover, further undermines military discipline and public trust in an institution for which there are few more precious commodities,” the veterans concluded. “The President’s attacks and suggestion that the Defense Department should investigate him take aim at the long-standing military code of conduct that demands that service members report wrongdoing and illegal acts through proper channels. LTC Vindman did just this. That these attacks come on the heels of President Trump’s pardoning of — and campaigning with — war criminals, his public threats of war crimes, and his minimization of Traumatic Brain Injury, a debilitating scourge on so many veterans, only compounds the implications.”
It’s also unfair because Vindman can’t fight back since he is still in uniform.
This condemnation follows a similar rebuke of Trump and Attorney General Bill Barr earlier this week for interfering with the Roger Stone case. More than 2,000 former Justice Department officials signed that letter.
In just under two weeks, Trump has managed to piss off lawyers and veterans by disrespecting the institutions they served. And now both are calling him out.
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