The White House on Thursday defended its move to purge a slew of Trump allies and former administration officials from their roles on various military advisory boards — invoking former President Donald Trump’s incitement of the Jan. 6 insurrection as a reason why those appointees should no longer serve on the government panels.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki told CNN in an interview that Biden administration officials were “confident in our legal abilities” to begin the process of removing 18 Trump appointees who sit on the boards of visitors to the Air Force Academy, the Military Academy and the Naval Academy.
"This really goes back to what every president’s right is, which is to appoint individuals they choose because they’re aligned with their values, because they’re aligned with the qualifications that they deem for any of these positions in any of these boards. And that’s what is taking place here. It’s not personal,” Psaki said, adding that “no one’s looking to have a battle here.”
Psaki then went a step further, suggesting the failure by some Trump appointees to more forcefully condemn the former president following the deadly Capitol riot rendered them unfit to remain on the military boards.
“I will say that there are some people, of course, on these boards who have supported or stood by silently while their former boss supported an insurrection,” she said. “That’s not really OK with us, either.”
But Psaki also acknowledged there are “a span of individuals on these boards” who are being ousted by the current White House, including some who are less political or more qualified than others for service. “It's really not more complicated than the president, his Cabinet and team wanting to be able to appoint a fresh layer of people,” she said.
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