Biden Defense Sec. Freezes Dozens of Pentagon Advisory Boards, Removes Hundreds of Last-Minute Trump Appointments

Retired Gen. Lloyd Austin

Photo credit: Chip Somodevilla, Getty Images

The Biden administration’s newly-confirmed Secretary of Defense, Gen. Lloyd Austin (retired), is cleaning out the Pentagon, purging the wave of dubious appointments made by Donald Trump in the last few weeks of his presidency.

According to a report in the Washington Post, Austin has halted the work of dozens of Pentagon advisory boards and asked for the resignations of hundreds of DOD appointees, some of which involved close friends of Trump.

In early December, Trump sparked outrage when he appointed two of his former top campaign officialsCorey Lewandowski and David Bossie, to the Defense Business Board. The not-so-subtle rewarding of loyal allies with plum committee positions came not long after he purged his own Defense Secretary Mark Esper along with other senior DOD appointees.

The 11th-hour announcement about Lewandowski and Bossie landing at the Pentagon came amidst a larger campaign of stocking of Trump cronies in post across the federal government. Among those were former White House aide, Kellyanne Conway, Trump booster and chair of the American Conservative Union, Matt Schlapp, and Andrew Giuliani, son of Trump’s infamous personal lawyer.

“The secretary was deeply concerned with the pace and the extent of recent changes to memberships of department advisory committees,” Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby told the Post. The sweeping action was part of a “zero-based review” to optimize the Defense Department, Kirby added.

“Members of the boards who were appointed by Pentagon will be asked to resign this month, while those who were selected by Congress or President Donald Trump will stay on while the review takes place,” the Pentagon spokesperson explained.

Though Lewandowski and Bossie were among those appointed by Trump, the Biden White House already stopped their Pentagon appointment — and several others selected by then-acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller — in a decision made last week.

 

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