Defense

Trump budget chief refuses to resign from Naval Academy board

The budget chief for former President Trump is refusing to step down from the Naval Academy’s Board of Visitors after he was asked to resign on Wednesday, along with a number of other Trump appointees.

Russell Vought, the former Office of Management and Budget (OMB) director, posted to Twitter a letter sent from the White House asking for his resignation from the board by the end of the day Wednesday.

“Should we not receive your resignation, your position with the Board will be terminated, effective 6:00 p.m. tonight,” the letter states.

Vought replied to the letter: “No. It’s a three year term.”

In response to questions as to whether Vought must step down, the Navy Academy pointed to the statute for its Board of Visitors, which stated that appointees designated by the president serve for three years. An individual can serve beyond that until their successor is appointed.

They referred all other questions to the White House.

Trump in December, weeks before he was set to leave office, appointed a number of political allies to the boards of military service academies after removing long-standing experts.

Along with naming Vought to the Naval Academy, Trump also appointed his former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and deputy campaign manager David Bossie to the Defense Business Board. In addition, Trump named his intended nominee for U.S. ambassador to Germany, Douglas Macgregor, and former senior counselor Kellyanne Conway to the West Point and Air Force Academy boards, respectively.

The White House also asked for the resignation of six members of the West Point Board of Visitors that were also appointed by Trump, including Macgregor.

Asked about the requests for resignations later on Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki confirmed the move and said President Biden made the move to ensure nominees and those that serve on the boards are qualified to do so and align with the administration’s values.

Asked about the risk of politicizing the boards by removing people from roles that typically stay across administrations, Psaki said she “would let others evaluate whether they think Kellyanne Conway and Sean Spicer and others were qualified or not political to serve on these boards.”

Other West Point board members asked to resign on Wednesday were former Trump National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster; former Army Vice Chief Gen. Jack Keane; former U.S. Army North head Guy Swan; and West Point alum David Urban, who Trump appointed as chairman of the American Battle Monuments Commission.

Updated at 3:56 p.m.

Tags Corey Lewandowski Donald Trump Jen Psaki Joe Biden Kellyanne Conway Lloyd Austin Naval Academy OMB Sean Spicer
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