“Vindman was the guy that, when we took him out of the building, the building applauded,” Trump said during Thursday’s podcast with host Geraldo Rivera. “I don’t know if you heard that. The whole building, many people in the building started applauding.”
Trump added that he had never met Vindman but thought his actions were “very insubordinate.” “First of all, that’s very insubordinate, why wouldn’t he go to his immediate – he went to Congress or he went to Schiff or he went to somebody,” Trump said, referring to Vindman’s complaint about the president’s phone call with Ukraine. “I’m not a fan,” he added.
Vindman’s departure came in February after the Senate voted to acquit Trump in the impeachment trial fueled, in part, by the former national security official.
Vindman’s lawyer said his client was escorted out of the White House complex, told to leave in retaliation for “telling the truth.”
“The truth has cost Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman his job, his career and his privacy,” attorney David Pressman said in a statement.
The White House had not been coy about whether Trump would retaliate against those he viewed as foes in the impeachment drama. White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said Thursday that Trump was glad it was over and “maybe people should pay for that.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a statement that Vindman’s ouster was “a clear and brazen act of retaliation that showcases the president’s fear of the truth. The president’s vindictiveness is precisely what led Republican senators to be accomplices to his cover-up.”
During his interview, Trump also pushed back on Pelosi’s claim that he was “impeached for life.” When asked whether he felt that way, Trump said: “No, she is a person that started an impeachment and lost, so she goes down as a loser, which she is.”
He added that Pelosi used her “impeachment for life” phrase “sadistically.” “If you watch the way she said that, with the hatred and the venom coming out of her ears, you just take a look at that,” he said. He also revealed that first lady Melania Trump reacted to Pelosi’s statement by calling it “horrible.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.