Former top Trump aide Kellyanne Conway on Wednesday refused President Joe Biden’s request to resign from an Air Force Academy advisory board, saying the request is “petty and political, if not personal.”
The administration had sent letters asking several Trump-appointed aides to resign from boards of advisers for military academies by 6 p.m. Wednesday or face termination, Military Times reported.
Conway posted a letter refusing to leave the Board of Visitors of the Air Force Academy, saying the removals would “politicize” the academies and discourage others from serving.
“News reports suggest you have made the same demand of other men and women who were duly appointed to service academy boards,” she said in the letter addressed to Biden, later adding: “The result is that faithful and willing public servants will be discouraged or thwarted from service. Our service academies will risk being further politicized and polarized.”
Military academies, including the U.S. Military Academy, the Air Force Academy and the Naval Academy, have nonpartisan advisory panels made up of presidential and congressional appointees who serve three-year terms. The boards give the schools nonbinding advice about matters like curriculum and student resources.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki confirmed Wednesday that Biden had asked several appointees from the previous administration, such as Conway and former press secretary Sean Spicer, to resign from their positions on various service academy boards. Spicer, who also questioned the decision in a tweet, had been appointed to the Naval Academy visitors’ board.
Psaki said the move was intended “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.”
She added: “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.”
Other top officials whose resignations were requested include former Trump national security adviser H.R. McMaster, according to reports, and former White House budget director Russ Vought. Vought said in a tweet that he will not step down.
“No. It’s a three year term,” he tweeted with an image of the request from the White House.