President Trump said Tuesday that he does not know Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the White House national security official testifying in connection with the House impeachment inquiry, and said he would let others make up their minds as to his credibility.
“I never saw the man. I understand now he wears his uniform when he goes in,” Trump told reporters at the White House during a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday when asked if Vindman was credible, tacitly questioning Vindman’s decision to dress in his military uniform. “No, I don’t know Vindman at all. What I do know is that he said the transcript was correct.”
“Vindman, I watched him for a little while this morning, and I think he — I’m going to let people make their own determination,” Trump, who last month called Vindman a “Never Trumper,” continued.
His remarks came as Vindman testified on Capitol Hill about a July 25 phone call he listened in on between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
“I don’t know, as he says, Lieutenant Colonel. I understand somebody had the misfortune of calling him ‘mister’ and he corrected them,” Trump said, referencing a moment during Tuesday’s hearing during which Vindman corrected Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), one of the president’s Capitol Hill allies, when he misstated his title.
Trump’s comment about Vindman’s uniform came after Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah) asserted at the hearing that Vindman was wearing his uniform on Capitol Hill despite normally wearing a suit to work — amplifying reports in conservative media suggesting he was doing so for show.
“I’m in uniform wearing my military rank. I thought it was appropriate to stick with that. The attacks that I’ve had in the press and Twitter have marginalized me as a military officer,” Vindman responded to Stewart.