WaPo: Commanding all of D.C. National Guard forced to retire as of 12:01pm on Inauguration Day by Obama
Is Obama really going to get away with this?
From THE WASHINGTON POST:
The U.S. Army general who heads the D.C. National Guard and is an integral part of overseeing the inauguration said Friday he will be removed from command effective Jan. 20, 12:01 p.m., just as Donald J. Trump is sworn in as president.
Maj. Gen. Errol R. Schwartz’s departure will come in the midst of the presidential ceremony — classified as a national special security event — and while thousands of his troops are deployed to help protect the nation’s capital during an inauguration he has spent months helping to plan.
“The timing is extremely unusual,” Schwartz said in an interview Friday morning, confirming a memo announcing his ouster that was obtained by The Washington Post.
During the inauguration, Schwartz would command not only the members of the D.C. guard but also an additional 5,000 unarmed troops sent in from across the country to help. He also would oversee military air support protecting the nation’s capital during the inauguration.
“My troops will be on the street,” Schwartz, who turned 65 in October, said. “I’ll see them off but I won’t be able to welcome them back to the armory.” He said that he would “never plan to leave a mission in the middle of a battle.”
Unlike in states, where the governor appoints the National Guard commander, in the District that duty falls to the president. Schwartz, who was appointed to head the guard by President George W. Bush in 2008, maintained the position through President Obama’s two terms.
He said his orders came from the Pentagon in the form of an e-mail that names his successor, an interim brigadier general, who takes over Jan. 20 at 12:01 p.m. U.S. Army Maj. Jamie Davis, a spokesman at the Department of Defense, said Schwartz is classified as a “non-career status employee.”
He noted that the interim commander starting Jan. 20 “is ready to assume complete mission” and handle the inauguration. A
s is customary, Schwartz, like other presidential appointees, submitted a letter of resignation to give the new administration a clean start. He’d done so before, but the Obama administration twice declined to accept.
The Trump transition team made the decision to accept Schwartz’s resignation, according to a military official with knowledge of the situation. Members of Trump’s transition team did not immediately respond for comment.
Schwartz got the news in an e-mail from the Pentagon that announced the appointment of the interim commander. Another military official with knowledge of the process said that the Trump transition team receives lists of political appointees and they can decide which resignations to accept.
Army officials declined to comment on that part of the process. All resignations are effective at 12:01 p.m. on Inauguration Day. D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson (D) blasted the decision to remove Schwartz, particularly in the midst of the inauguration.
“It doesn’t make sense to can the general in the middle of an active deployment,” Mendelson said. He added that Schwartz’s sudden departure would be a long-term loss for the District. “He’s been really very good at working with the community and my impression was that he was good for the Guard.”