President Donald Trump may be in the fight of his life, through his widespread legal efforts, to remain in the White House for a second term, but that hasn’t stopped him from carrying on business as usual, including some much-needed house cleaning in the Pentagon.
According to The New York Post, Trump gave the green light to remove eleven members of the Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board — a board of various experts that provides independent advisory to top-ranking Pentagon officials on the subject of U.S. defense policy.
Among those booted from the board are several well-known names, such as former Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and Madeleine Albright. Former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and former Treasury Department undersecretary David McCormick were also removed from the board.
Others who were terminated include “retired Adm. Gary Roughead; onetime ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee Jane Harman; and Rudy De Leon, a former chief operating officer at the Pentagon.”
Earlier this week, the Defense Department issued a statement on the mass removal, confirming that it was official and effective immediately.
“As part of long-considered changes, we can confirm that several members of the Department’s Defense Policy Board have been removed,” the Defense Department statement read, before thanking each member for their service and contributions to American defense policy.
According to Foreign Policy, it wasn’t made clear why Trump waited until after the election — and possibly his last few months in office — to purge the large group from the board. But the action came on the heels of the firing of former U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper, who fought to keep the board intact.
Trump originally wanted to stack the board with those more loyal to his policies but received pushback from Esper during his time in the president’s Cabinet. With some of the members of the board initially appointed by former President Barack Obama, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Trump would want to remake the group with those who are more in line with his defense policy ideas.
Knowing that the president prefers to fill vacant seats as soon as possible, it likely won’t be long until the board is once again fully operational with fresh faces.