A day after the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and the United States Naval Academy (USNA) refused to comment on whether they will enforce President Joe Biden’s directive to fire all of former President Donald J. Trump’s appointed advisors, the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) did the same.
“[W]e’re going to have to refer you to the White House on this query,” USAFA’s Chief of Media Relations Dean Miller told The Tennessee Star by email.
Trump’s former Senior Counselor, Kellyanne Conway, is the most high-profile appointee to the USAFA advisory board.
Wednesday night, after Biden’s directive, she sent a fiery tweet and an accompanying letter, saying that she would not resign from her post, but that Biden should:
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,” she wrote in the letter.
West Point and the USNA responded similarly to The Star when asked if they would enforce the new directive.
“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, said by email.
She then directed The Star back to the White House.
“For questions that cannot be answered from these two resources, I recommend contacting the White House,” Wrightson said.
The relevant part of the statute in question makes it abundantly clear that USNA advisors are appointed for three year terms, and that there is no provision that allows them to be fired by a subsequent president.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki addressed the issue in her Thursday 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,” she said.
“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.”
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