Commander Ordered to Step Down Mid-Inauguration
Timing is 'extremely unusual,' DC Guard chief says
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 14, 2017 7:13 AM CST
Construction work on the inaugural platform last month.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)
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(Newser) – Maj. Gen. Errol R. Schwartz says he wouldn't leave a mission in the middle of a battle, so he doesn't understand why he is being asked to step down in the middle of Donald Trump's inauguration. Schwartz, head of the DC National Guard, has been ordered to step down 12:01pm on Jan. 20, the minute Trump is sworn in, despite the fact that he will be in the middle of commanding thousands of troops from DC and around the country at the time, the Army Times reports. Schwartz, as a presidential appointee, submitted the customary letter of resignation, and military sources tell the Washington Post that the Trump team decided to accept it despite the timing. A transition source, however, says Trump's team wanted continuity and it was the Army that wanted to replace Schwartz mid-ceremony.

Schwartz, who was appointed by George W. Bush in 2008, tells the Post that the order to step down came from the Pentagon and he finds the "timing extremely unusual." "My troops will be on the street," he says. "I’ll see them off, but I won’t be able to welcome them back to the armory." The 65-year-old began his military career in the DC National Guard more than 40 years ago, and he says he plans to work up until the final minute and then retire from the Army. "I'm a soldier," Schwartz says. "I'm a presidential appointee. Therefore, the president has the power to remove me." (The Women's March on Washington could be bigger than the inauguration.)

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