On Thursday, February 6, 2020, I wrote that,
I expect that U.S. President Donald Trump will abuse the power of the presidency today. If not today, then no later than tomorrow.Trump is acquitted. What next?
He actually waited until the morrow at the end of the day. On Friday, he fired Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman from his post as a national security advisor to the President.
Vindman was planning to be transferred from his post by the U.S. Army at the end of February. However, rarely does one just leave the Trump administration. They are fired, usually in a dramatic way. This is an abuse of power. Trump sends away people who have worked for him with drama because he can. These people do indeed serve at his pleasure. But why drama and humiliation? Why seething and mocking tones?
But, why such forbearance to wait another day?
Actually, according to The Washington Post (February 8, 2020), Trump wanted to fire Vindman on Wednesday just after being acquitted in a Senate trial from the impeachment charges leveled against him by the House of Representatives. However, aides to the President persuaded him to delay the action in hopes of enjoying positive news coverage over the acquittal.
To make matters worse, “Trump simultaneously ordered the ousting of Vindman’s twin brother, Yevgeny, a chief ethics lawyer at the National Security Council (NSC) who did not testify in the impeachment probe.” Besides this, Trump recalled Gordon Sondland who was serving as U.S. ambassador to the European Union. Sondland also testified before the House’s impeachment probe. Both Alexander Vindman and Sondland were responding to subpoenas from the House. Yevgeny Vindman was caught in Trump’s snare only because of his brother.
So, Trump has become emboldened – as I wrote – and is seeking revenge for betrayal, real or imagined.
According to the Post, Fernando Cutz, who served on the NSC as a senior advisor to then-national security adviser H.R. McMaster before they both left in 2018, said, “Every career official will tell you it’s not just chilling but frightening … The broader message to career officials is that you can’t speak up. Even if you see something illegal, something unethical, you can’t speak up. That’s the message the president wants to send.”
Trump has been and continues to be a bully. With the backing of the power of the presidency, he bullied Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky (last July), and this is what precipitated his impeachment. He’s not learning from his misdeeds. He remains the Bully-in-Chief.