Medal of Honor recipient Leroy Petry defended President Trump’s firing of Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman from the National Security Council (NSC) during a recent interview on Fox & Friends.
“I respect Donald Trump’s actions on escorting [Vindman] out of the White House because he, as a team player, he should have brought it up through the chain of command, and then blown the whistle if it didn’t get approved,” Petry said Sunday. He added:
And so exactly my insight is, I would’ve fired him too and said, “I can’t trust you on my team if you can’t bring me things that you don’t agree with.” And for Nancy Pelosi also calling him a hero, I think is a word that gets thrown around way too much. I respect his service, and I understand he’s a Purple Heart recipient, but being a Purple Heart recipient doesn’t make somebody a hero.
Vindman, who worked on Ukraine issues on the NSC, testified during the House impeachment hearing that he was so concerned about the president’s July 25, 2019, call with the Ukrainian president that he reported it to the NSC’s general counsel along with his twin brother, a lawyer who was also removed from the NSC, instead of going to his direct superiors.
Pete Hegseth, co-host of the show and also an Army veteran, noted that Vindman is suspected of leaking the contents of the July 25 phone call to others, including the “whistleblower,” whose complaint was used by House Democrats to launch their impeachment effort. When Vindman was asked during the House impeachment hearings who he spoke to about the call within the intelligence community, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) refused to let him answer, citing concerns of outing the “whistleblower.” The whistleblower is alleged to be CIA official Eric Ciaramella, according to RealClearInvestigations.
Leroy, I appreciate your candor, because wearing the uniform doesn’t make you immune from criticism, especially if you’re on the National Security Council and you’ve — it’s now been identified that you’re probably a part of leaking, you certainly were part of a concerted effort to hurt the president. You testified against him. And then the Democrats are outraged that the president takes his prerogative to say, “You serve at my pleasure; you’re moving on.”
He asked Petry why he thought there was so much outrage over Vindman’s firing: “He’s still in the military. He’s just moving out of the White House. So why the outrage from people that want to hold up Vindman and say he’s such a big hero?”
Petry responded that he has heard from those who knew Vindman from Ranger School that he was a “chow thief”:
I think a lot of the folks that I know, when this all started, those that knew him when he was going through Ranger School said that he was a chow thief in Ranger School and couldn’t be trusted, and they tried peering him out. And they said, “Well I guess it hasn’t changed much.” And usually, folks that tried to make a big statue of something are what we call spotlighters in the military, trying to highlight themselves as a hero or doing something great, and you could do something great just doing your job.
Hegseth explained that a “chow thief” is someone who, when there is limited food during Ranger School, “you’re taking some so that you can have some and your buddies don’t.” He said a “spotlight ranger” is someone “who, when the spotlight’s on, you do a great job; when it’s not, you’re not necessarily helping your buddies.”
Hegseth also explained that to be “peered out” means your fellow peers are voting against you to graduate from that particular school. “I’ve also heard his political allegiance, he always wore it openly. Like, we all are allowed to have political views, but he’s been a left-winger his entire career, and now the president has a prerogative to get rid of him,” he added.
Petry added, “Hey — and then he’ll have to accept the title of Mr. Vindman,” in reference to Vindman correcting House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Devin Nunes (R-CA) that his title was “lieutenant colonel,” not “mister.”
After Petry received some criticism for his comments on Vindman, fellow Medal of Honor recipient David Bellavia took to Facebook to defend him:
Bellavia called the “chow thief” allegation “unsubstantiated” but said that Petry was so “squared” and “old school” that he was upset by even that minor infraction.
“In Leroy Petry’s mind, being a chow thief is the unforgivable sin,” Bellavia laughed. “Now don’t get me wrong, that’s a horrible thing to do to your guys.If they’re hungry, you’re hungry. That’s just the Army way. … However, that was unbelievable, and that is Leroy, and that is why he needs to be on TV more.”
Bellavia said Petry is the Medal of Honor recipient who called him to give him advice on being a recipient. The Medal of Honor is the highest and most prestigious personal military decoration.