On Thursday, January 7, 2021, Trump’s top arms control official, Chris Ford, announced his resignation to staff titled “A fond impending farewell” that did not mention the seizure of the Capitol building by a pro-Trump mob the day before.
Instead, the memo mentioned how working as the undersecretary of state for arms control and international security was the “highlight of my professional career” and an “extraordinary honor and privilege.” He told colleagues his last day on the job would be “a week from tomorrow.”
But on Friday, as criticisms of Trump mounted in Congress and more Cabinet officials resigned in protest, Ford sent a follow-up email to colleagues informing them that he had revised his original departure letter and was resigning “effective immediately.”
“I must reconsider that timeline,” he wrote. “I cannot continue to serve in an administration at a time in which some are willing to condone, or even to incite, violent insurrection against the country I hold dear and whose Constitution I have taken a sacred oath to support and defend.”
In his revised letter to Trump, Ford says, “I hereby revise my request to you, asking now that you accept my resignation effective immediately.”
In a phone call with The Washington Post, Ford was asked if his decision to rescind his original resignation letter was a result of the shifting political winds in Washington or an opportunistic bandwagon mentality.
“I don’t think anyone mistook me for a MAGA guy at any point,” he said. “That kind of posturing isn’t particularly important to me.”
Ford said that as he “stewed” on the decision since Thursday morning, it “became clear” that his original departure letter “wasn’t adequate and the events were such that I wanted to say more and do more, so I moved up the timing and walked out the door immediately.”
The decision amounts to a departure date that is seven days earlier than previously scheduled. But in Washington, where talk of expelling a president through the 25th Amendment or bringing new articles of impeachment is becoming commonplace — timing and perceptions can be everything.