The Strange Firing of Maj. Gen. Errol R. Schwartz

Let me share the strange tale of the firing of Maj. Gen. Errol R. Schwartz who is in charge of the joint forces gathered for the inauguration on Friday. Schwartz is being removed from command at a weird point, and it seems to have generated a bizarre sort of disinformation campaign.

Mjr. General SchwartzHe “has spent months” helping with the planning of protection of the President-Elect/President, along with everyone else. In other words, this requires a high degree of coordination. The Washington Post broke the story and gives explicit detail.  Here are the specifics…

The Mjr. General is in charge  of not only the DC National Guard, but also “5,000 unarmed troops dispatched from across the country to help. He also will oversee military air support protecting Washington during the inauguration.”

The position held by Schwartz is a Presidential appointment, and Schwartz was originally appointed by President George W. Bush. President Obama has continued to appoint him. Where Governors generally appoint the head of the Guard, in DC there is no Governor, so it falls to the President.

Also, it is customary for all Presidential appointees to submit their resignations for 12:01 on the day of inauguration. In this case, the Trump transition team decided to accept the resignation – as is. In other words, Mjr. General Schwartz will be relieved of duty at 12:01, just at Trump is sworn into office.

In the interview with the Washington Post Schwartz stated:

“The timing is extremely unusual,” “My troops will be on the street,” said Schwartz, who turned 65 in October. “I’ll see them off, but I won’t be able to welcome them back to the armory.” He said he would “never plan to leave a mission in the middle of a battle.”

So all this is weird enough, but Trump also fired the inaugural parade announcer Charlie Brotman who has announced every inauguration since Eisenhower, and replaced him with a high contributing Trump supporter. (This is a sad story with a good ending, but it is not part of this weird tale.)

Now comes the really weird part. I mean the above raises eyebrows and certainly increases the security risk – IMO.

So, if you go looking for info on what went down with Mjr. General Schwartz a couple of interesting things pop up near the top of the search results:

From “Freedom Outpost, Obama Just Fired the Top Commander of the DC National Guard. Huh?

And from the official “organ” of the Trump administration, Breitbart,  Fake News: Wash Post Changes Story on Trump ‘Firing’ D.C. Nat’l Guard General. Breitbart claims the news is “fake” because: ? Well, they give several possible scenarios for why it is fake, just in case one doesn’t work. Schwartz resigned and the team accepted it (no mention on whether this was due to lack of knowledge on the part of the team or not). Then we have the assumed vindictiveness of Schwartz: “The general then ran straight to the media to “argue his case in the press,” as a recent Fox News report noted.” Then they claim that the Washington Post edited the story – though there seemed to be the addition of specifics and not a retraction.

Ok, Obama did not fire Schwartz, as far as we can tell, and the story at the Washington Post was not “fake news.” In fact, the story was confirmed in Stars and Stripes.

As another side note, Schwartz was involved with an organization that also has the backing of President Obama – the Youth Challenge Academy – run by the DC Guard with federal dollars.

So while the timing of removing Schwartz is very strange, why in the world write all these weird lies about it?


  1. sonofrojblake says

    it is customary for all Presidential appointees to submit their resignations for 12:01 on the day of inauguration. In this case, the Trump transition team decided to accept the resignation

    This does not meet any definition of the word “fired” I’m familiar with. Or “weird” for that matter. Thing that customarily happens, happened.

    There is no mention here of who Schwarz’s replacement is, or indeed whether he’ll be replaced. That is weird. Is it a secret?

    I’ve been in a position several times professionally where I have to set up and coordinate a multitude of complex actions to be carried out by others, where part of the deal is that I shall most likely cease to be a part of the project at a crucial point around the time of implementation. This is not at all unusual. The responsible thing to do in such a case is to plan as though you won’t be present, given that you know months in advance that this is possible, indeed probable.

    Schwarz’s absence should not affect security adversely in any way unless his planning was incompetent and he hubristically assumed he would be continuing in his role and planned only for that contingency and no others.

    • Kevin J. Connolly says

      It has not been done in the past. General Schwartz spent his whole adult life in uniform. He rose to an exalted rank. He deserved a proper change of command ceremony, with a review and remarks by someone in high command or political life, Trumpsky, who claims he learned more about the military when he was in High School than the Joint Chiefs know, decided to ignore tradition. The children who are making these decisions decided to ignore tradition and then, suddenly decided to un-accept the general’s resignation. Only you can’t do that. Once his resignation was accepted, it required the advice and consent of the Senate to restore his rank, and General Schwartz had his fishing trip booked by that time.

      The Commander in Chief isn’t fit to lead a squad of cadets, much less the USA’s armed forces.

      • sonofrojblake says

        The Commander in Chief isn’t fit to lead a squad of cadets

        We agree on that.

        I just don’t think promulgating fake news like this is a positive way forward. Don’t sink to Trump’s level.

  2. cobsweb says

    As I read the various statements of Mjr. General Schwartz, he was not expecting to be removed from command in the middle of the inauguration. He then decided to retire, kind of implying that he would have stayed in the Guard even if he had not been retained as head of the DC Guard.

    No replacement has been announced, but for the inauguration, command will pass to his second in command.

  3. sonofrojblake says

    So to summarise:
    – he tendered his resignation, as is customary.
    – his resignation specified a particular time for his duties to end, as is customary.
    – his resignation was accepted, so his duties end at the time he specified.
    – his duties will pass to his deputy, as is customary.

    This post has a headline containing the words “strange” and “firing”. Neither of these words appear to apply in this case. Also “he then decided to retire” sounds like a tantrum.

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