“I’m not resigning, but you should,” Kellyanne Conway, a member of the Board of Visitors to the United States Air Force Academy and a senior adviser to former President Donald 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 position, a move that has stoked fears that the current president was politicizing some of the nation’s most prestigious schools.
“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.
Conway wasn’t the only Trump appointee to refuse to resign amid Biden’s demand, with former Director of the Office of Management and Budget Russ Vought flatly saying “no” and arguing that appointees are selected to serve three-year terms.
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.
Asked about the demands for Trump appointees to resign during her press briefing Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the moves were made “to ensure [the president] has nominees and people serving on these boards who are qualified to serve on them and who are aligned with [his] values.”
Psaki also denied that the moves were politically motivated, saying instead that “the president’s qualification requirements are not your party registration, they are whether you’re qualified to serve and whether you’re aligned with the values of this administration.”
Other officials dismissed from West Point include former Trump National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster; former Army Vice Chief Gen. Jack Keane; former Pentagon senior adviser Douglas Macgregor; former U.S. Army North commander Guy Swan III; and West Point grad David Urban.