President Donald Trump fired European Union Ambassador Gordon Sondland Friday, in apparent retribution for testifying against him in the congressional impeachment proceedings.
“I was advised today that the president intends to recall me effective immediately as United States Ambassador to the European Union,” Sondland said in a statement. He expressed gratitude to Mr. Trump “for having given me the opportunity to serve.”
Sondland’s dismissal came just hours after Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman, the top National Security Council official on Ukraine who also testified against Trump, was fired and escorted out of the White House by security.
In November, Sondland provided bombshell testimony, telling the House Intelligence Committee that Trump’s attempts to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to dig up dirt on 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter amounted to a “clear quid pro quo.”
He also implicated other top administration officials and Trump allies, including testifying that Trump gave “express direction” to work with his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, who had been directly engaging with Ukrainian officials in the scheme.
Sondland also testified that he was instructed to brief administration officials about the scheme.
“Everyone knew. It was no secret,” he said. “Everyone was in the loop.”
Trump appointed Sondland, a former hotel executive, ambassador after he donated $1 million to Trump’s 2017 inauguration.
In a largely party-line vote Wednesday, the Senate acquitted Trump on two articles of impeachment. Ever since, Trump has hailed the acquittal as a victory, repeated his common lines of attack (such as calling the impeachment inquiry a “hoax” and “witch hunt”) and gone on a vindictive streak, assailing lawmakers who voted for his impeachment in the House and conviction in the Senate.