On Friday, the Trump administration took the first of what is certain to be a substantial amount of retaliatory actions against the government officials who dared to testify against him during the impeachment hearings.
Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman, who became a national hero for his impassioned testimony to the House, was escorted out of the White House by security and told he no longer held a position on the National Security Council. His twin brother, Yevgeny Vindman, was also fired from his position as an NSC attorney.
It represents the ugly beginning of the post-impeachment Trump era. The coming weeks will doubtlessly be charachterized by Donald Trump’s spiteful efforts to exact revenge against all those who have wronged him, a lengthy list which we know includes former NSA John Bolton and Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT).
While no tears will be shed for notorious warmonger John Bolton, it is appalling to see the President abuse the levers of his office in order to pursue petty feuds against his enemies.
Prominent voices on social media immediately issued a chorus of outrage at the move and honored Vindman for sacrificing his career in order to do the right thing for his country:
This is reprehensible. There was no need to humiliate Vindman this way, nor was it appropriate to retaliate against him for testifying before Congress. Where is @ChuckGrassley, who in 2018 released a video assuring feds they wouldn't face retaliation for testifying to congress? https://t.co/DvyhYwoyF8
— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) February 7, 2020
Trump’s retaliation against LTC Vindman is more than just petty revenge.
He is clearing out someone who he knows will hold him accountable for future criminality while simultaneously sending a message to others about the cost of doing what’s right.
— Jason Kander (@JasonKander) February 7, 2020
This is disgusting. An insult not just to LTC Vindman, but to our entire military and to all Americans. @realDonaldTrump does this to LTC Vindman. While he pardons war criminals. These are very dangerous times for America. #IYNAYNPA https://t.co/Mlvi2yAaFD
— Paul Rieckhoff (@PaulRieckhoff) February 7, 2020
You can serve honorably or you can serve Trump, but it is impossible to do both. Forever grateful that Vindman chose honor. https://t.co/EbqY7y1Dt3
— Matthew Miller (@matthewamiller) February 7, 2020
Escorting Lt. Col. Vindman from the White House today was Trump’s petty idea of revenge against the holder of a Purple Heart. I’d urge Vindman to see it as a badge of honor.
— Laurence Tribe (@tribelaw) February 7, 2020
The Russian agent in the White House, @realDonaldTrump has just purged American patriot, war hero solider, Lt. Alexander Vindman from the National Security Council and removed him from the @WhiteHouse for doing his duty and defending the Constitution.
— Fernand R. Amandi (@AmandiOnAir) February 7, 2020
From Gallagher to Vindman and everyone in between, the messages this Administration is sending to the men and women in uniform about duty, loyalty, and the rule of law is pretty clear—and pretty terrifying.
— Steve Vladeck (@steve_vladeck) February 7, 2020