Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, one of the key witnesses in the impeachment trial against President Donald Trump, slammed the president’s campaign of bullying and intimidation in a Washington Post op-ed published Saturday.
Standing up for his principles, Vindman wrote: “After 21 years, six months and 10 days of active military service, I am now a civilian. I made the difficult decision to retire because a campaign of bullying, intimidation and retaliation by President Trump and his allies forever limited the progression of my military career.”
“At no point in my career or life have I felt our nation’s values under greater threat and in more peril than at this moment. Our national government during the past few years has been more reminiscent of the authoritarian regime my family fled more than 40 years ago than the country I have devoted my life to serving,” Vindman continued.
Lt. Vindman, a war veteran, was denied a routine promotion through the military ranks after White House officials dug up dirt on him and passed it along to the Pentagon. Vindman decided to retire from service, with his lawyer citing retaliation over his testimony before Congress.
“Our citizens are being subjected to the same kinds of attacks tyrants launch against their critics and political opponents,” wrote Vindman. “Those who choose loyalty to American values and allegiance to the Constitution over devotion to a mendacious president and his enablers are punished. The president recklessly downplayed the threat of the pandemic even as it swept through our country. The economic collapse that followed highlighted the growing income disparities in our society. Millions are grieving the loss of loved ones and many more have lost their livelihoods while the president publicly bemoans his approval ratings.”
“Since the struggle for our nation’s independence, America has been a union of purpose: a union born from the belief that although each individual is the pilot of their own destiny, when we come together, we change the world. We are stronger as a woven rope than as unbound threads,” wrote Vindman. “America has thrived because citizens have been willing to contribute their voices and shed their blood to challenge injustice and protect the nation. It is in keeping with that history of service that, at this moment, I feel the burden to advocate for my values and an enormous urgency to act.”
“When I was asked why I had the confidence to tell my father not to worry about my testimony, my response was, ‘Congressman, because this is America. This is the country I have served and defended, that all my brothers have served, and here, right matters,’” concluded Vindman. “To this day, despite everything that has happened, I continue to believe in the American Dream. I believe that in America, right matters. I want to help ensure that right matters for all Americans.”
You can read Vindman’s entire op-ed here.