Draining the swamp: Trump boots 70 Obama staffers from NSC
Vindmans not the only White House security staffers to exit
Democrats and establishment media saw President Trump’s decision last week to relieve National Security Council staffers Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and his twin brother, Lt. Col. Yevgeny Vindman, of their White House duties as an act of vengeance for the latter’s testimony in the House impeachment investigation.
But with the news Monday that Trump and National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien have cut 70 positions inherited from former President Barack Obama, the move looks more like another fulfillment of Trump’s campaign promise to “drain the swamp.”
Many of the 70 were loaners from other agencies to came to NSC when Obama fattened the staff to 200,” the Washington Examiner reported. The loaners have been sent back, and others have left government work.
The anonymous “whistleblower” complaint that triggered the Democrats’ failed impeachment drive is believed to have come from the NSC, which is part of the president’s personal staff.
Trump explained in a tweet on Saturday that Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who was returned to the Pentagon, was “very insubordinate” and was “given a horrendous report by his superior.”
On Friday, the Vindman brothers were escorted from the White House hours before the U.S. ambassador to the EU, Gordon Sondland, announced the president intended to recall him.
Sondland also testified in the House impeachment investigation, which ended last Wednesday with Trump’s acquittal in the Senate.
The Examiner noted that Trump has relied on staffs smaller than previous administrations and has kept a much smaller NSC team.
His NSC adviser, O’Brien, said he’s using a model instituted by President George W. Bush, who handled the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with 100 NSC aides.
John Ullyot, the NSC’s senior director for strategic communications, told the Examiner’s Paul Bedard that NSC will complete this month “the right-sizing goal Ambassador O’Brien outlined in October.”
The spokesman said the target might be exceeded by drawing down even more positions.