Washington, DC – Attacks from Republicans on Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who is testifying on the Hill today as part of the impeachment inquiry, are abhorrent and unpatriotic. Vindman is a decorated, active duty member of our armed services who has dedicated his life to serving his country, the United States of America. President Trump appears to have a distorted belief that Vindman owes the president personal loyalty over loyalty to the country he has sworn to protect. And Republican talking heads have gone so far as to speculate that he is a spy and a traitor engaged in espionage simply because he is a Ukrainian-American immigrant who speaks Ukrainian and Russian. To insinuate that someone’s loyalty lies elsewhere because of their family ties or language fluency is a xenophobic attempt to pit one group against another.
The diversity of America’s national security workforce is an extraordinary asset, and it is unacceptable to attack a public servant’s commitment to serve his or her country based on their ethnic, religious, or cultural background. Like so many others working every day to keep Americans safe, Lt. Col. Vindman is an American patriot who brings invaluable language skills and cultural awareness to his current position. He embraced a life of service to the country he chose, and for his skill set and background to be held against him is both offensive and extraordinarily counter-productive for the security of Americans.
This is yet more evidence of this administration’s reckless disregard for the professional diplomats, intelligence officials, and military service members who work tirelessly and with extraordinary integrity to keep Americans safe and secure. This administration has repeatedly shown that patriotism is an empty word for them, from the time Trump denigrated John McCain for his service in Vietnam. It should not be surprising that it does not value public service in any meaningful way, even though countless public servants continue to protect this country every day.
“We owe an extraordinary debt of gratitude to individuals like Lt. Col Vindman, a decorated veteran who has chosen a life of service to this country,” said Foreign Policy for America Executive Director Andrew Albertson. “The suggestion, by White House cronies, that he is anything but patriotic is repulsive and dangerous, and it deserves widespread condemnation.”
“Lt. Col. Vindman’s long history of service to our country is illustrative of the contributions that immigrants have made to our national security,” said Rebecca Bill Chavez, FP4A advisor and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense. “The Republican attacks against a decorated, active duty service member are despicable. There is absolutely no reason to doubt that the same sense of duty that has motivated Lt. Col. Vindman throughout his career is what led him to denounce the president’s decision to put his personal and political interests ahead of our national security.”
“Those attacking LTC Vindman for doing what he is ethically required to do as an active duty Army officer — report wrongdoing — are undermining the integrity of our military,” said Kelly Magsamen, Vice President of National Security and International Policy at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, FP4A advisor, and former Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense. “And for the Commander in Chief to imply the officer’s disloyalty to him personally for doing so is worthy of an additional article of impeachment.”
“Every American should be profoundly grateful to Lt. Col. Vindman for his expertise, courage and dedication to public service,” said Matthew Olsen, FP4A advisor and former Director of the National Counterterrorism Center. “The recent personal attacks against Vindman, amid the Trump administration’s ongoing efforts to denigrate our diplomatic, law enforcement, and intelligence communities, are abhorrent and undermine our national security.”
“This is the latest effort by Trump loyalists to undermine the rule of law,” said Nayyera Haq, FP4A advisor, former State Department Senior Advisor, and former White House Senior Director for Cabinet Affairs. “They were never able to argue the facts because Trump, and now Sondland, both openly admit to holding military aid hostage for political reasons. They can no longer argue process, given the House resolution and moves towards transparency. They have now resorted to running smear campaigns against military officers and diplomats who are upholding the Constitution and speaking to Congress. The attacks on Lt. Col. Vinland are especially cruel, going to the heart of what it means to be American. A Soviet refugee, Vinland volunteered to serve the United States in the Army; he had to pass security checks that Jared Kushner can’t and risked his life in ways Trump never will, yet the White House questions Vinland’s patriotism. Trump and team must be held accountable.”