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Saturday, July 2, 2022

Bipartisan Salutes to Impeachment Witnesses for Public Service. Really?

Two words pop into my head every time I hear House members – from both parties – thank the impeachment inquiry witnesses for their decorated military service: Bone spurs.

One word comes to mind when Trump tweets or his Republican acolytes question the female career diplomats called as fact witnesses before the Intelligence Committee: misogyny.

It defies credulity that loyalty to President Trump overrides the respect the Republican House members profess to have for Ukraine chief of mission William Taylor and National Security Council European Affairs Director Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman.

Taylor, who graduated in the top 1% of his class at West Point and was decorated for valor for his combat service in Vietnam, spent 50 years in public service, from the Army to NATO to the State Department.

Vindman was awarded a Purple Heart after being wounded by a roadside bomb while patrolling Fallouja during the U.S. “surge” of forces against extremists in Iraq. Trump’s only military involvement was getting five Vietnam War-era deferments.

Republican Rep. Chris Stewart noted his own family tradition of military service in expressing gratitude for Vindman’s. Then he questioned why the career military officer would wear his dress uniform and medals to a civilian hearing. Other GOP members picked up and ran with baseless accusations in right-wing media that Vindman, a naturalized U.S. citizen whose Ukrainian family fled the Soviet Union when he was a toddler, might be compromised by divided loyalties.

Trump’s tweets Friday disparaging the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine he ousted in May, Marie Yovanovitch, were at least a genuine representation of his attitude toward strong, dedicated and accomplished women. He doesn’t like them. That comes through loud and clear, with no insincere thanks for her service.

GOP members’ questioning of Jennifer Williams, the State Department’s foreign policy adviser to Vice President Mike Pence, was less combative during Tuesday’s hearing. But Trump couldn’t stop himself from tweeting a warning ahead of her testimony, calling the woman who served the Bush-Cheney administration a “Never Trumper” and accusing her of collaborating with Democrats to attack his fitness for office.

Doesn’t sound much like gratitude for public service.

Carol J Williams
Carol J Williams
Carol J. Williams is a retired foreign correspondent with 30 years' reporting abroad for the Los Angeles Times and Associated Press. She has reported from more than 80 countries, with a focus on USSR/Russia and Eastern Europe.

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