UPDATED | As part of their efforts to undermine Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman’s testimony Tuesday in the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, Republicans raised the issue of him wearing his Army uniform while testifying.
Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, remarked upon Vindman’s attire during his time allotted for questions.
“Lt. Col. Vindman, I see you wearing your dress uniform,” said Stewart, who is himself a retired Air Force major. “Knowing that’s not the uniform of the day and you’d normally wear a suit to the White House, I think it’s a great reminder of your military service.”
Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., suggested that it was only appropriate for Vindman to appear in uniform if he wears it daily during his work at the NSC, but if he didn’t, he shouldn’t wear it while testifying.
“When you’re wearing the uniform testifying, that testimony is then linked to the United States military, good or bad,” Perry told CQ Roll Call during a break in Tuesday’s hearing. Vindman’s testimony was full of “opinions counter” to his commander in chief, Perry said.
According to Army spokesman Lt. Col. Emanuel Ortiz-Cruz: “A Soldier performing duties in an official capacity will normally be in uniform. In cases where a Soldier is detailed to an agency outside of DoD, the individual would follow the policies of that agency.”
Military officials routinely testify before Congress in their uniforms. The military chiefs, for instance, make the rounds on Capitol Hill to defend their budget requests each year with four stars upon each shoulder.
It’s also worth noting that Lt. Col. Oliver North, who like Vindman was staffed to the National Security Council, wore his uniform while testifying during the Iran-Contra hearings in 1987.
And Trump’s former national security adviser, Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster also was known to wear his uniform while serving in the White House.
Katherine Tully-McManus contributed to this report.This story was corrected to say Rep. Perry is from Pennsylvania.