Power & Security, United States

'NYT' Opinion Writer On 'Vindictive' Trump Firings

February 8, 2020
By Michel Martin | NPR

Perry World House's Director of Communications and Research, John Gans, is interviewed by Michel Martin on NPR's All Things Considered about the firing of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman from the National Security Council.

Michel Martin: We begin today with the ongoing turmoil in Washington over how President Trump conducts foreign policy - conduct that led to his impeachment but resulted in an acquittal. Yesterday, President Trump removed two administration officials from their posts who'd provided damaging testimony - Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, who served on the National Security Council, and Gordon Sondland, Trump's ambassador to the EU.

Critics have called the firings clear acts of retribution. They may also be part of a broader strategy to reshape the National Security Council, so writes former Pentagon official John Gans in an opinion piece in The New York Times. He says it is a president's prerogative to make personnel changes, but that these firings are different.

John Gans: Well, I think the two things that sort of make this different is, No. 1, by all accounts, Colonel Lindeman was a model public servant, right? He was a person who did his job well, served honorably, has gotten accolades from people who don't often give accolades - people like the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joe Dunford and others who have come out - gone out of their way to compliment him and say he's a good public servant.

Changes of personnel have happened in the past. But what worries us here is that by all accounts, Alexander Vindman was a fine public servant. And by all accounts, he did what was right. And so those two things make this an unusual firing and an unsettling one.

Read and listen to the full interview on NPR >>