Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a key witness to the impeachment against President Trump, wrote a scathing op-ed on Saturday calling on the Trump administration to “authoritarian rule” on the first day of his retirement from the military.
“At no time in my career or in my life have I felt the values of our nation more threatened and in more peril than now. Our national government in recent years is more reminiscent of the authoritarian regime my family fled over 40 years ago than of the country I have dedicated my life to serving, ”Vindman wrote, referring to Ukraine, where he was born.
Vindman chose to quit the military after 21 years because of a “campaign of intimidation, intimidation and retaliation,” he said Trump and his allies had led against him, which “limited forever the progression ”of his military career following his testimony of impeachment for the Chamber of Deputies.
“Our citizens are subject to the same types of attacks that tyrants launch against their critics and political opponents,” he said of the administration. “Those who choose loyalty to American values and allegiance to the Constitution over devotion to a lying president and his enablers are being punished. ”
ALEXANDER VINDMAN, IMPEACHMENT TRUMP WITNESS, MILITARY RETIREMENT
He also said Trump had “carelessly played down” the threat of the coronavirus pandemic.
Last fall, Vindman said during House impeachment hearings that he raised concerns about Trump’s July 2019 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in which Trump asked him to ‘investigate former Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter.
Zelensky was sacked from his post on the National Security Council days after Trump’s acquittal in February and escorted from the White House grounds. His twin brother, Lt. Col. Yevgeny Vindman, was also expelled from the NSC.
Trump said Vindman was “very insubordinate” and reported the president’s “perfect” phone call “incorrectly.”
Earlier this month, Senator Tammy Duckworth, a veteran of the Iraq war who lost both legs in action, said: “Lt. Colonel Vindman’s decision to retire highlights Defense Secretary Mark Esper’s inability to protect a decorated veteran from a vindictive Commander-in-Chief, ”Politico reported.
After the publication of Vindman’s editorial, some responded by calling him a patriot while others defended the president.
“Thank you, Lieutenant Colonel Vindman. To remind us that here, good matters. And that even with a president without regard for the Constitution or anything beyond himself, the force [of] our democracy is the character and commitment of citizens like you, ”tweeted Democratic Representative Adam Schiff, former House impeachment official.
Republican Lee Zeldin, however, said Vindman was “not a martyr. He lied under oath of not knowing who the whistleblower was.
Vindman concluded in his editorial: “Despite some personal turmoil, I remain hopeful for the future for both my family and our nation. He said that after his retirement he would continue to “defend” the country.
“I… believe in the American dream,” he wrote. “I believe in America good matters. I want to help make sure that the good counts for all Americans. ”
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Vindman is an Iraq War veteran and a Purple Heart recipient.
Fox News’s Marisa Schultz contributed to this report.