Pentagon purges Trump era defense appointees including Corey Lewandowski and Newt Gingrich from advisory boards

 New Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has fired several hundred appointees to Pentagon advisory boards - including Trump administration appointees like Corey Lewandowski and Newt Gingrich.

The order only impacts board members appointed by the Defense Department, and not board members appointed by Congress or presidents, including Trump, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The move does not affect Sean Spicer and Kellyanne Conway, who were appointed by Trump to the Naval Academy Board of Visitors and the Air Force Academy Board of Visitors respectively. 


A defense official told reporters that Austin believed 'this was the most fair, most equitable way' to address questions about the boards, according to the outlet.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, center,  has fired several hundred appointees to Pentagon advisory boards

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, center,  has fired several hundred appointees to Pentagon advisory boards

Newt Gingrich is one of the hundreds appointed to Defense Department advisory boards that has been ordered to step down

Newt Gingrich is one of the hundreds appointed to Defense Department advisory boards that has been ordered to step down

Corey Lewandowski was still undergoing a lengthy financial disclosure and security clearance process for his board appointment

Corey Lewandowski was still undergoing a lengthy financial disclosure and security clearance process for his board appointment

The Defense Department has also been ordered to conduct a review of its more than 40 advisory boards which were not set up by Congress, according to a memo sent to senior pentagon leadership. 

Of the 42 advisory panels listed in Austin’s memo, 31 will have their members removed, six will be part of the review but their members will be retained, and five others have either no members at this time or have concluded their business. 

Among the 31 are some of the department’s most well known boards, including those with purview over defense policy, science, health, innovation, Arlington National Cemetery and women in the military.

All together there are more than 600 members on the 42 boards. Defense officials said they don’t know exactly how many are being asked to resign, but it will be hundreds. 

Some of the boards may be reorganized or eliminated, outlets reported.

Select board members could be asked to return to their roles by June 1, after the review is completed, an official told Stars and Stripes

Austin was reportedly motivated to order the resignation and review of advisory boards after the Trump administration appointed dozens in a frenzy

Austin was reportedly motivated to order the resignation and review of advisory boards after the Trump administration appointed dozens in a frenzy

John Kirby, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, said Austin was partly motivated by the former acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller's decision to abruptly fire board members in 2020 and replace them with Trump loyalists, Forbes reported.

'The frenetic activity that occurred to the composition of so many boards in just the period of November to January deeply concerned the Secretary,' Kirby said.

Allies of former President Trump who were affected include former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, former deputy Trump campaign manager David Bossie, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and retired Brig. Gen. Anthony Tata.


Miller appointed Gingrich and Tata to the Defense Policy Board in December. 

Tata was placed on the board on January 19, the last full day of the Trump administration. He came under fire after it was revealed that he called former President Barack Obama a 'terrorist leader' in 2018.

While board members are not Pentagon employees, their coveted positions carry influence with Defense Department leadership, and members usually maintain valuable security clearances. 

Last week, Austin effectively stopped Trump administration nominees from being seated on the advisory boards by suspending their on-boarding process.

Austin became the Secretary of Defense on January 20, after President Joe Biden's inauguration. 

Pentagon purges Trump era defense appointees including Corey Lewandowski and Newt Gingrich from advisory boards Pentagon purges Trump era defense appointees including Corey Lewandowski and Newt Gingrich from advisory boards Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 05:35 Rating: 5

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