White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday that the decision to purge former President Donald Trump’s appointees from the military service academy boards was “not personal.”
Psaki joined CNN’s “New Day” to discuss several issues, and she spoke with host John Berman about President Joe Biden’s decision to remove Trump appointees — including retired Gen. Jack Keane and former White House press secretary Sean Spicer — from their positions on the military service academy boards. (RELATED: Biden Admin Tells Kellyanne Conway, Sean Spicer To Resign Or Be Dismissed From Military Advisory Boards)
“So the White House asked for several members of these military academy advisory boards to resign or they would be removed. Many have refused to resign. So what happens to them now?” Berman asked.
“Well, we’re confident in our legal abilities here, but I will tell you, John, no one is looking to have a battle here,” Psaki replied, saying that Biden had every right, as president, to appoint or remove anyone as he saw fit.
“We’re confident in our right to make new decisions about who serves on these boards,” Psaki continued, arguing that the president had the right to choose people he felt were better aligned with the viewpoints of his administration.
“Traditionally these appointees do serve out their full three-year term, though,” Berman pushed back, asking why Biden had not made any effort to make a distinction between appointees who were career military people and those who were political operatives who had worked for Trump.
“Well look, again, this really goes back to what every president’s right is, which is to appoint individuals they choose because they’re aligned with their values, because they’re aligned with the qualifications that they deem … That’s what’s taking place here. It’s not personal,” Psaki continued.
“I will say that there are some people, of course, on these boards who have supported or stood by silently while their former boss supported an insurrection. That’s not really okay with us either,” she added. “It’s really not more complicated than the president, his cabinet and team wanting to be able to appoint a fresh layer of people.”