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article imageUnder Secretary of Defense for Policy, John Rood resigns

By Karen Graham     Feb 19, 2020 in Politics
Pentagon policy chief John Rood is leaving his job at the end of this month, the Defense Department confirmed on Thursday, marking yet another high-level departure from the Trump administration's senior national security ranks.
After Trump's impeachment trial, where he was acquited of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress charges over his pressure campaign on Ukraine, the president quickly proceeded to oust members of his administration who testified in the House impeachment inquiry, including Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman from the White House National Security Council and U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland.
In the latest chapter of Trump's "retribution tour," the Pentagon's top policy official is out, and his resignation comes at the president's request. Rood had one of the Defense Department's most senior posts and has been on the job for two years.
Thursday morning, Trump acknowledged Roop's leaving, according to Politico, tweeting: "I would like to thank John Rood for his service to our Country, and wish him well in his future endeavors!"
There was one important thing missing from Trump's tweet, however. Trump had told Defense Secretary Mark Esper he wanted Rood out of the picture. In a letter written Wednesday, according to CNN News, Rood wrote: "It is my understanding from Secretary Esper that you requested my resignation from serving as Under Secretary of Defense for Policy. Senior administration officials appointed by the President serve at the pleasure of the President, and therefore, as you have requested, I am providing my resignation effective February 28, 2020," Rood wrote in his letter to President Donald Trump, dated Wednesday.
Rood came under scrutiny because he was the official who certified in May to Congress that Ukraine was eligible to receive $250 million in security assistance, according to Bloomberg.
However, some former DoD officials say that Rood was asked to resign due to "unhappiness with him for some time." Back in December 2019, Digital Journal reported on a number of Pentagon officials' resignations. This is where the "toxic work environment" first came up.
So, who was to blame for the apparently toxic environment in the Pentagon? According to Foreign Policy, many current and former defense officials laid the blame at the feet of John Rood, the Defense Department’s top policy official. According to Foreign Policy, "Nearly a dozen current and former officials who spoke to Foreign Policy on condition of anonymity pointed to Rood as a major contributor to the departures and the Pentagon’s struggle to fill the empty posts."
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