Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman on Saturday took aim at President Donald Trump in an op-ed announcing his retirement from the military, in which he likened the Trump administration to an authoritarian regime.
In a column for The Washington Post, Vindman explained that he’d “made the difficult decision to retire” after 21 years service “because a campaign of bullying, intimidation and retaliation by President Trump and his allies forever limited the progression of my military career.”
Vindman, a Purple Heart recipient, was a key witness in the impeachment of Trump over the Ukraine scandal. Trump was accused of pressuring Ukraine’s president to dig up dirt on Democratic rival Joe Biden in exchange for withheld military aid.
Trump fired Vindman, a Ukrainian American, from the National Security Council in February in retaliation for his testimony.
The whole experience was “painful,” Vindman wrote in the editorial.
But he acknowledged he was “not alone in this ignominious fate,” saying his circumstances were “little different from those of dozens of other lifelong public servants who have left this administration with their integrity intact but their careers irreparably harmed.”
America has thrived because citizens have been willing to contribute their voices and shed their blood to challenge injustice... 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. https://t.co/6w5Sq1zB86
— Alexander S. Vindman (@AVindman) August 1, 2020
“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,” Vindman warned. “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 also criticized Trump’s disastrous response to the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent collapse of the economy.
But he ended on an optimistic note, describing himself as hopeful “for the future for both my family and for our nation” and vowing to “continue to defend my nation.”
“Impeachment exposed Trump’s corruption, but the confluence of a pandemic, a financial crisis and the stoking of societal divisions has roused the soul of the American people,” he said.
“To this day, despite everything that has happened, I continue to believe in the American Dream,” Vindman concluded. “I believe that in America, right matters. I want to help ensure that right matters for all Americans.”
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.