Psaki: Biden admin ‘confident in our legal abilities’ to remove 18 Trump appointees

Press Secretary Jen Psaki holds a press briefing

In an interview with CNN, White House press secretary Jen Psaki stated that Biden administration officials were “confident in our legal abilities” to begin the process of removing 18 Trump appointees who serve on the boards of visitors to the Air Force Academy, Military Academy, and 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,” Politico reported.

Psaki went on to say that some Trump appointees’ failure to more forcefully criticize the former president following the Capitol protest.

“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.”

However, Psaki acknowledged that the current White House is removing “a span of individuals on these boards,” including some who are less political or more qualified for service than others.

“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.

Kellyanne Conway, Sean Spicer fire back after Biden boots Trump appointees

“I’m not resigning, but you should,” Kellyanne Conway, a member of the Board of Visitors to the U.S. Air Force Academy and a former senior adviser to Trump, wrote in a response to Biden following the demand.

Conway was one of several people appointed by Trump to serve in advisory boards for the military academies whom Biden has asked to resign from their positions.

“It is tragic that this great institution is now being subjected to and hijacked by partisan action that serves no purpose and no greater good,” said Meaghan Mobbs, a West Point graduate who served as an adviser to Trump on military and family issues.

“Make no mistake, the move to terminate duly appointed presidential appointees sets a dangerous precedent for future administrations and undermines our institutions,” she added.

Conway took aim at Biden for breaking “presidential norms,” arguing that 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.

List of 18 Trump appointees on the non-partisan military advisory boards
The Biden administration is demanding the resignations of 18 officials appointed by former President Trump to military service academy boards including (from l-r) Sean Spicer, Kellyanne Conway and former National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster

The move was also blasted by former White House press secretary Sean Spicer, who serves on the Board of Visitors to the Naval Academy.

“Instead of focusing on the stranded Americans left in Afghanistan, President Biden is trying to terminate the Trump appointees to the Naval Academy, West Point and Air Force Academy,” Spicer wrote Wednesday.

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