The head of the District of Columbia National Guard has been ordered to resign immediately after President-elect Donald Trump takes office.
Maj. Gen. Errol Schwartz will resign at 12:01 a.m. on Jan. 20, just after Trump is sworn in, Maj. Byron Coward, a guard spokesman.
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Schwartz, who was appointed by President George W. Bush, told The Washington Post in an interview, “the timing is very unusual”, but that he is following orders.
In contrast to the commanders of the level of the state National Guard units, the head of the District National Guard serves at the pleasure of the president. At the time Schwartz leaves, he will be in the middle of the commander of thousands of Guard troops of the District and in the entire country that his support for the inauguration.
“My forces will be on the street,” he said in an interview, according to the paper. “I see them, but I will not be able to welcome them back to the armory.” He went on to say that he “never planned to leave from a mission in the middle of a fight.”
Phil Mendelson, DC Council chairman, criticized the movement.
“It has no meaning can be generally in the middle of an active implementation,” Mendelson told The Post. He added that Schwartz ‘ s sudden departure will be a long-term loss for the District. “He is really very very good in working with the community, and my impression was that he was good for the Guard.”
The Post reported that there are conflicting stories about the behind-the-scenes developments that led to the decision. A person who is close to the Trump transition team reportedly said transition officials wanted to keep him, but the Army pushed for a replacement. Schwartz reportedly said the orders came in an e-mail from the Pentagon. He will be replaced by a brigadier-general at 12:01 pm
The Associated Press contributed to this report