Despite enduring new criticism from Democrats, several Republican senators have publicly voiced support for President Donald Trump’s decision to reassign a former National Security Council Army officer who testified against him during the House’s impeachment inquiry.
On Friday, the Trump administration ousted Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman from his NSC post along with his twin brother who was a lawyer for the council and who is also an active duty Army officer. Both men were reassigned to the Pentagon.
Vindman testified before the House that he was concerned about a phone call President Trump had July 25 with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in which he initially claimed Trump improperly held up lethal military aid in exchange for a pledge by Kiev to investigate a potential 2020 presidential rival, Joe Biden.
Democrats, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), denounced the move, while Schumer on Monday sent letters to dozens of inspectors general about protecting whistleblowers.
Republicans beg to differ, however,
“I think the president has every right to believe that the people that are advising him give him advice and then follow the policy,” said Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), a member of the Senate’s leadership, according to The Hill.
He added that the president can decide who can serve “in the executive branch in jobs particularly that are either directly appointed by him, like ambassadors, or directly advising him, like people at the National Security Council,” The Wall Street Journal reported.
Blunt said Vindman “shouldn’t be taking action on a policy problem outside the chain of the command,” according to reporters. “I would have dismissed him for that. I would have dismissed him earlier.”
“It’s the president’s prerogative,” said Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.), The Wall Street Journal reported.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) also defended the president’s decision while castigating much of the media for mischaracterizing Trump’s action.
“Is it appropriate for the news to say [Vindman] was fired when he was not, he was reassigned?” McCarthy told reporters during a Feb. 11 press conference. “I think that is appropriate.”