10 members of the presidential Asian and Pacific Islander advisory panel resign as Trump’s pick for new national security advisor turns him down.
On Wednesday, 10 members of the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders submitted their resignation in an open letter citing President Trump’s policy aims are “diametrically opposite” to the goals of the commission.
The very next day, reports emerged that Trump’s pick to replace National Security Advisor Mike Flynn — forced to resign after a scandal involving illegal conversations with Russian officials — has turned down the offer of a cabinet post.
The fact that these most recent resignations and rejections come from decidedly different ends of the political spectrum suggests that Trump’s toxic brand is increasingly unpalatable for even many committed insiders.
Several members of the advisory commission stated that they had intended to stay on as members of the panel — first created by President Clinton and renewed under Presidents Bush and Obama with the goal of serving as a bridge between the federal government and AAPI communities — in the hopes that “a seat at the table” would allow them to continue to advocate for their communities.
However, Commissioner Maulik Pancholy said that Trump’s “rhetoric of hate” made that impossible.
“February 19, 2017, will be the 75th anniversary of the signing of Executive Order 9066 which led to the incarceration of 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War II. Protecting civil rights and fighting against bullying were pillars of our Commission’s work. We cannot serve under an administration that seeks to exclude members of our society or take away their rights, especially the Muslim community, which is very much part of our AAPI community,” wrote Pancholy.
“AAPIs cannot participate in this,” commission chair Tung Thanh Nguyen told NBC. “Even if the actions (of the Trump administration) may not be specifically directed at one AAPI group or another, we have suffered this kind of discriminatory, exclusionary actions, and we do not want to support any of that.”
Six other members of the commission resigned on the day of Trump’s inauguration, leaving only four remaining members of the 20 member panel which reports to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.
Earlier this week President Trump reportedly offered retired Vice Admiral Robert Harward, currently working for U.S. defense contractor Lockheed Martin, a spot in his cabinet as national security adviser.
However, just hours after Trump referred to Harward in his Thursday press conference as “somebody that I think will be outstanding,” a White House spokesperson told reporters that Harward had turned down the post, citing family reasons.
Reuters reported that sources familiar with Harward’s decision say he turned down the job over concerns about being able to hire his own team.
Harward joins two other Trump cabinet picks — Vincent Viola and Andrew Puzder — who withdrew their names from consideration in the last two weeks.
Earlier this month, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick resigned from Trump’s business advisory council after he came under massive pressure for allowing Uber drivers to break a wildcat strike by New York City taxi drivers over Trump’s Muslim ban executive order.