Yevgeny “Eugene” Vindman, one of the twin Army officers targeted by former President Donald Trump for their roles in his impeachment scandal, is launching a Democratic congressional bid that could put him on the same ballot as the former commander-in-chief.
In an interview with Military Times, the 48-year old retired Army colonel said he’s ready for that fight.
“After 25 years in the Army, there are few things that scare me, and a fight with Trump backers is not one of them,” Vindman said. “Being able to tackle [Republican] extremism is going to be important, and so is providing a contrast of government that works for people versus chaos.”
Vindman, a Ukrainian immigrant, served as deputy legal advisor for the National Security Council under Trump. Both he and his brother, Alexander, were forced into the public spotlight after Alexander testified before Congress about phone calls between Trump and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy that ultimately led to the U.S. president’s first impeachment trial.
Eugene Vindman was a behind-the-scenes advisor for his brother during those proceedings, and like his brother was eventually forced out of that role by the Trump administration as retaliation. He has been active in advocacy work for U.S. support to Ukraine in recent years.
Vindman said that continued alliance with Ukraine will be a campaign talking point in his bid to replace Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., who announced Monday that she will leave Congress next year and launch her own bid to become governor of Virginia in 2025.
Along with local issues for the northern Virginia district, Vindman also plans to focus on improving veterans support programs and preserving the non-political nature of the military.
“Alex and I have already taken the brunt of this, and we’ve seen things getting worse,” he said.
“Last time Trump ran, I was in uniform, I was not in a position to do anything political. This time, I want to juxtapose what integrity is, what Army values are versus what Trump is presenting.”
Trump has attacked both Vindman brothers on social media in the past. He is currently the front-runner in national polls for the Republican presidential nomination for 2024.
Vindman, who deployed to Iraq during his time in the Army, will likely face a primary challenge for Spanberger’s seat in March as well as a Republican opponent next fall. Before Spanberger won the seat in 2018, the post had been held by a Republican representative for 25 consecutive years.
Leo covers Congress, Veterans Affairs and the White House for Military Times. He has covered Washington, D.C. since 2004, focusing on military personnel and veterans policies. His work has earned numerous honors, including a 2009 Polk award, a 2010 National Headliner Award, the IAVA Leadership in Journalism award and the VFW News Media award.