FILE PHOTO: Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman, director for European Affairs at the National Security Council, stands up for a break in… LOREN ELLIOTT July 08, 2020 01:41pm EDT

THE NEUTRAL ZONE

United States Army Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman retired from military service this week after 21 years of service. Vindman’s reason for leaving the Army, according to his lawyer, was that his potential in the service “will forever be limited” due to his testimony against President Donald Trump during his impeachment proceedings.

Vindman’s attorney David Pressman stated that he has continually dealt with a “campaign of bullying, intimidation, and retaliation” that they allege was incited per request of the president. The statement released by Pressman stated, “The President of the United States attempted to force LTC Vindman to choose between adhering to the law or pleasing a president.” Vindman also announced his retirement on Twitter and has since received both support and backlash on the platform. 

President Trump also took to Twitter to weigh in on the matter, stating, “Actually, I don’t know him, never spoke to him, or met him (I don’t believe!) but, he was very insubordinate, reported contents of my ‘perfect’ calls incorrectly, & was given a horrendous report by his superior […]” Prior to Vindman’s retirement, Illinois Democratic Senator and veteran Tammy Duckworth stated her intention to block Senate confirmations for 1,123 Armed Forces promotions until the Secretary of Defense agreed not to block Vindman’s expected promotion to Colonel. 

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi also spoke out on the matter, stating, “The shameful firing of Lieutenant Colonel Vindman from the White House was a clear and brazen act of retaliation that showcases the President’s fear of the truth, which continues to this day.” Author and former White House speechwriter John Gans issued a Twitter thread describing other instances in which a high-ranking military officer was allegedly punished by the military for “getting too close to the president,” citing Navy Navy Captain Phil Dur and Lt. Gen. Doug Lute as examples akin to Vindman.

MEDIA PERSPECTIVE

Army Officer Who Clashed With Trump Over Impeachment Is Set to Retire – New York Times – 7/8/2020
The witness, Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, a decorated Iraq war veteran who served on the staff of the White House National Security Council, is among scores of officers who have been picked to be promoted to full colonel this year. Typically, such promotions are backed by Army and Pentagon officials before moving to the White House for final approval, and then to the Senate for a confirmation vote. But the White House had made clear to officials in the Pentagon’s office of personnel and readiness, which handles such matters, that Mr. Trump did not want to see Colonel Vindman promoted, officials said.

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman Retires From Military; Statement Accuses Trump Of ‘Bullying’ Him – The Daily Wire – 7/8/2020
Vindman walked away from his 21-year military career instead of taking a post at the Navy War College because “senior Army officials” had spoken with him and “made clear that there were forces working against his advancement within the military,” CNN reported. Senior military officials allegedly told Vindman that he would need a “rehabilitative assignment” after his post at the college to continue advancing.

Vindman, Key Impeachment Witness, Retires Over ‘Bullying, Intimidation’ By Trump – NPR – 7/8/2020
“Through a campaign of bullying, intimidation, and retaliation, the President of the United States attempted to force LTC Vindman to choose: Between adhering to the law or pleasing a President,” Pressman wrote. “Between honoring his oath or protecting his career. Between protecting his promotion or the promotion of his fellow soldiers. These are choices that no one in the United States should confront, especially one who has dedicated his life to serving it.”

Alexander Vindman, Trump impeachment witness, retires from military – Fox News – 7/8/2020
Vindman was an important witness for Democrats during the House impeachment inquiry. He raised concerns over Trump’s July 25 phone call with Zelensky, in which he pressed Ukraine to launch an investigation into Joe Biden, now the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, and his son, Hunter. […] “LTC Vindman’s patriotism has cost him his career,” said Pressman, a former ambassador to the United Nations for Special Political Affairs. “Today our country loses a devoted soldier, but it is incumbent upon all of us to ensure it does not lose the values he represents.”

INFLUENCER PERSPECTIVE

Rep. Joe Neguse on Twitter, 7/9/2020: History will remember Lieutenant Colonel Vindman as an American patriot, one who put our country’s national security and Constitution first, when many others were not willing to.

Robert J. O’Neill on Twitter, 7/9/2020: Am I the only veteran wanting to see Lt. Col Vindman’s reason for being awarded the Combat Infantryman Badge? Carpal Tunnel does sting…

Mia Farrow on Twitter, 7/9/2020: Lt Col Alexander Vindman is a Purple Heart recipient. Here he shows us all what courage can look like. And we soon saw the cost; Trump had Col Vindman, and his twin escorted out of the WH

Lee Zeldin on Twitter, 7/9/2020: 1 more time for those in the back saying Vindman didn’t lie under oath…He said he had no idea who the whistleblower was. Then he said that if he named the name of the person outside the NSC he spoke to about the 7/25 call other than George Kent he’d be outing the whistleblower.

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