On Friday, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the National Security Council Ukraine expert who testified against President Donald Trump during the House impeachment inquiry, was told his services would no longer be needed in the White House.
Vindman — who broke the chain of command to complain about Trump’s July phone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky and was, according to his superior, a suspected leaker with questionable judgment — was immediately canonized by the left as another saintly patriot cut down by Antipope Donald I.
Later on Friday, there was a Democratic presidential debate in New Hampshire. These debates, whether they involve Republicans or Democrats, will always feature cheap, audience-pleasing moments that should be beneath even politicians. Ever willing to lower the bar, former Vice President Joe Biden’s lamented that the president “should have been pinning a medal on Vindman, and not on Rush Limbaugh,” which led into one of the more obnoxious moments in recent debate history.
“I think we should all stand and give Colonel Vindman a show of how much we supported him,” Biden said, motioning to the crowd. “Stand up and clap for Vindman, get up there … that’s who we are, we are not who Trump is.”
As Biden might have said in a previous debate: Parents, make sure you have the record player on at night, make sure that kids hear Vindman’s testimony.
I think those comments are self-evidently ridiculous, but if you need a Medal of Honor recipient to tell you that they are, Leroy Petry is willing to oblige.
Petry, a retired Army Ranger who received the Medal of Honor from President Obama in 2011 for his actions in Afghanistan, gave his appraisal of Vindman’s firing and the former vice president’s debate stunt during a Sunday appearance on “Fox & Friends.”
“I like Joe Biden, I’ve met him several times, but that right there is ridiculous,” he said.
“I respect Donald Trump’s actions on escorting [Vindman] out of the White House, because he, as a team player, he should have brought [his concerns]up through the chain of command, and then blown the whistle if it didn’t get approved.”
“And so exactly my insight is, I would’ve fired him too and said, ‘I can’t trust you on my team if you can’t bring me things that you don’t agree with.’ And for Nancy Pelosi also calling him a hero, I think is a word that gets thrown around way too much,” he continued. “I respect his service and I understand he’s a Purple Heart recipient, but being a Purple Heart recipient doesn’t make somebody a hero.”
Petry also claimed that Vindman was considered a “chow thief” in Ranger School who other Rangers had attempted to have “peered out.” He also said Vindman was one of those “folks that tried to make a big statue of something” who “are what we call spotlighters in the military. Trying to highlight themselves as a hero, or doing something great, and you could do something great just doing your job.”
“Leroy, let me translate that a little bit,” said co-host Pete Hegseth, an Army National Guard veteran who served in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Afghanistan and Iraq was awarded two Bronze Stars.
“‘Chow thief’ meaning when there’s limited food, you’re taking some so that you can have some and your buddies don’t. ‘Spotlight ranger’ is someone who, when the spotlight’s on, you do a great job; when it’s not, you’re not necessarily helping your buddies. And to be ‘peered out’ means your fellow peers are voting against you to graduate from that particular school.”
This part, while interesting, probably ought to be given the same veracity as something on Wikipedia labeled as . The evidence for this, where it can be found, has been kicking around online for a while, albeit from dubious sources. If Petry has sources of his own — which certainly isn’t outside the realm of possibility, since he’s a Ranger himself — this is pretty interesting stuff. Absent that, take this for what it is.
However, the rest of the exchange is pretty solid stuff, particularly when Hegseth notes that National Security Council members serve “at the pleasure of the president.”
Vindman was allegedly a leaker who broke the chain of command on a politically sensitive matter for purposes I don’t believe it’s unreasonable for me to make assumptions about. Even if you think he did those things for reasons of patriotism, this is still an individual who serves “at the pleasure of the president.” This is a situation where it’s difficult to just go back into the office Monday and ask everyone what they thought of the Wizards game that weekend.
The president and those on his team couldn’t trust Vindman. Vindman was out. That’s not a hard
And yes, he was apparently negotiating his exit. That exit has since been negotiated for him. I don’t particularly feel that diminishes our institutions in any substantive way and haven’t had any evidence presented to me that has changed my mind. That evidence, mind you, has mostly taken the form of: “I mean, just look at it! Can’t you see the petty dictator this man has become?” It hasn’t quite worked yet.
As for Biden’s debate stunt, it was bad enough it induced even these jaded eyes to roll back into their sockets. Stand for leaking! Stand for insubordination! Stand for questionable judgment!
Biden wasn’t thinking of any of those things, mind you, when he asked the crowd for their ovation. I guarantee you that a lot of American voters were.
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