Sean Spicer, former President Donald Trump’s press secretary, was among several people asked to resign from the Naval Academy Board of Visitors, as President Joe Biden removes Trump appointees from service academy advisory boards.
Spicer, who was appointed to the board in 2019 by Trump, tweeted a picture Wednesday of the letter he received from Catherine Russell, director of White House Personnel, asking him to resign from his position on the board. If he did not resign, his position would be terminated, according to the picture of the letter, dated Wednesday.
The letter from Russell was on behalf of Biden.
Spicer is not the only member of a service academy board asked to resign. Six members each from the Naval Academy, Air Force Academy and U.S. Military Academy boards of visitors were asked to resign, a total of 18, deputy press secretary Chris Meagher confirmed in an email.
In addition to Spicer, John Coale, Russell Vought, Jonathan Hiler, Anthony Parker, who currently serves as vice chair for the board, and retired Rear Adm. Joseph Walsh were asked to resign from the Naval Academy Board.
Vought tweeted his own picture of the letter he received from Russell, captioning it, “It’s a three year term.”
Coale did not tweet a picture of a letter asking him to resign but reweeted a post from Greta Van Susteren, adding the comment that the letter was “nasty.” Van Susteren also tweeted a picture of Coale’s letter from Russell.
Among those being asked to resign from the Air Force Board of Visitors are Kellyanne Conway and Heidi Stirrup. Stirrup is one of the plaintiffs suing the Department of Defense and military leaders over the inability for the Board of Visitors to meet. Spicer is also listed as a plaintiff on the lawsuit.
The boards of visitors have not been able to meet as they are part of a review being conducted by the Department of Defense.
Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a Wednesday news conference that the president’s objective is to have appointees on the board who are qualified and aligned with the administration’s values.
“Well, 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,” Psaki said. “But the President’s qualification requirements are not your party registration.”
Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger, a Democrat from Maryland who serves as the chair of the Naval Academy Board of Visitors, was not consulted or notified by the president about the decision to ask the six members to resign, he said in a statement. However, he said he respects the president’s ability to appoint members to the board, just as Trump did.
“The decision to remove presidential appointees from an advisory board is any President’s prerogative,” Ruppersberger said in the statement.
Ruppersberger wished the six members well in their future endeavors and requested that Biden make his appointments as swiftly as possible, although the loss of six members will not affect the board’s ability to hold a quorum. Ruppersberger also requested that the Department of Defense allow the board to meet again.
“During my tenure, I have always appreciated the bipartisan camaraderie of our meetings and passionate, singular focus on supporting the midshipman, faculty and staff at the U.S. Naval Academy – one of our nation’s most prestigious and well-respected educational institutions,” the congressman said in a statement.