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WH Abruptly Fires DoD Advisers, Installs Trump Allies

Newser — Jenn Gidman

Less than a month after President Trump fired Defense Secretary Mark Esper, the White House conducted an abrupt mass firing Friday of nine members of a Pentagon advisory board, putting in their place Trump allies.

Per Politico, the removed members of the Defense Business Board received a terse email from Joshua Whitehouse, the Trump administration's liaison to the Defense Department.

"If you are receiving this e-mail, your membership on the Defense Business Board has expired or is coming to an end," the missive read. In a Pentagon statement, acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller named the 11 new members, said to have been selected based on their "expertise and executive management experience in the private and public sectors." Among those who will be sliding into seats at the board's table: Trump allies Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie.

Lewandowski and Bossie worked on Trump's 2016 campaign, per the Hill; Lewandowski was also a senior adviser for this year's campaign, while Bossie, president of Citizens United, has joined Lewandowski in Trump's efforts to contest the 2020 election.

The appointments usually last one to four years, per CNBC. It's not clear what the Biden administration will do regarding the new members. The now-former board members are shocked, saying they received no advance notice or negative feedback, and some noting their terms weren't close to expiring.

Ex-Chair Michael Bayer tells Politico he's "saddened" by the "unprecedented" move. "I was very surprised that the White House would, at the 11th hour, adjust an advisory board that for 19 years has had a record of nonpartisan support with the department," he says, adding to the Washington Post that board members could've been added without removing any.

"Not even a thank you note," another ex-member tells Politico.

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