The U.S. Military Academy at West Point passed the buck back to the White House when asked Thursday whether it would follow President Joe Biden’s unlawful demand that appointees of former President Donald J. Trump resign from the academy’s advisory board or be fired.
As Just the News reported, “The Biden administration on Wednesday told 11 officials appointed by former President Trump to military service academy boards of visitors that they must either resign or be fired by the end of the day.”
“Members of the U.S. Military Academy’s Board of Visitors (BOV) are appointed by the President and members of Congress to provide independent advice and recommendations to the Academy’s leaders,” Lt. Col. Beth R. Smith, West Point’s director of Public Affairs and Communications, told The Tennessee Star by email.
She directed any further questions to White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki.
“For questions that cannot be answered from these two resources, I recommend contacting the White House,” Wrightson said.
The relevant part of the statute says:
§8468. Board of Visitors
(a) A Board of Visitors to the Naval Academy is constituted annually of-
(1) the chairman of the Committee on Armed Services of the Senate, or his designee;
(2) three other members of the Senate designated by the Vice President or the President pro tempore of the Senate, two of whom are members of the Committee on Appropriations of the Senate;
(3) the chairman of the Committee on Armed Services of the House of Representatives, or his designee;
(4) four other members of the House of Representatives designated by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, two of whom are members of the Committee on Appropriations of the House of Representatives; and
(5) six persons designated by the President.
(b) The persons designated by the President serve for three years each except that any member whose term of office has expired shall continue to serve until his successor is appointed. The President shall designate two persons each year to succeed the members whose terms expire that year.
The law is quite clear that presidential appointees serve for a term of three years and there is no provision that allows subsequent presidents to fire them.
Psaki fielded questions on the subject during Wednesday’s press briefing.
“The President’s objective is what any president’s objective is — to ensure you have nominees and people serving on these boards who are qualified to serve on them and who are aligned with your values. And so yes, that was an ask that was made,” Psaki reportedly said.
She specifically addressed two high-profile Trump administration officials – Sean Spicer and Kellyanne Conway – respectively appointed to the advisory boards of the U.S. Air Force Academy (USAFA) and USNA.
“I will let others evaluate whether they think Kellyanne Conway and Sean Spicer and others were qualified, or not political, to serve on these boards, but 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,” Psaki said.
USAFA did not respond to a comment request in time for publication.
Conway responded on Twitter with an open letter to Biden.
“President Biden, I’m not resigning, but you should,” the tweet with the accompanying letter said.
President Biden, I'm not resigning, but you should. pic.twitter.com/HuRYM4bLYP
— Kellyanne Conway (@KellyannePolls) September 8, 2021
“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,” the letter said.
Nine other Trump appointees would be affected by the directive, including Lt. General H.R. McMaster, who serves on the advisory board at West Point.
– – –