Former Trump spokesman Sean Spicer and budget chief Russ Vought recently sued President Joe Biden for attempting to fire them from key military academy boards before their three-year term is up.
The incident occurred on September 12, when Catherine M. Russell, the director of White House personnel, asked 18 Trump officials and allies to resign on three different boards – the Board of Visitors to the Air Force Academy, Military Academy, and the Naval Academy. The letters were sent on behalf of President Biden.
Spicer and Vought shared that the White House does not have authority over the boards and that members-only leave when their three-year term is up, they resign, or they die. The boards were created by Congress and have strict membership rules. President Biden has no authority to fire any of the appointees and can only name members.
Former President Donald Trump had appointed the two in the latter half of his presidency, but both had been asked to resign on September 8. That’s when they took it up against President Biden and slapped him with a lawsuit.
“Mr. Spicer and Mr. Vought have not resigned and will not resign in response to President Biden’s request, and they are facing a threat of imminent termination. President Biden has no constitutional authority under Article II to terminate Mr. Spicer’s and Mr. Vought’s appointments to the Board because it is a purely advisory nonpartisan entity that does not wield any executive power,” Spicer and Vought’s lawsuit argues.
Spicer and Vought were among many Trump appointees to various military service boards who were told by President Biden and his administration to resign or face termination from their roles. White House press secretary Jen Psaki even defended the move by adding that Biden’s objective was to ensure he has the nominees and people serving on these boards who are “qualified to serve on them.”
Vought and Spicer pushed back publicly that the move was “unprecedented” and they were in it for a three-year term. Spicer only had three months left to serve in his role but he said he’s still fighting back against the firing.
Former Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway also refused to step down from her role, telling Biden that she wouldn’t resign but that he should. She said Biden’s break from their roles only seemed to be “politicizing” the military academies even more. She said the break from presidential norms seems petty, political, and personal.
“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,” Conway said.
Spicer and Vought filed the lawsuit in the federal court in Washington D.C by America First Legal. President Biden’s threatened dismissal before their term expires only indicates that he is out to violate the law and exercise an executive power he does not have.