U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland said on Friday, Feb. 7 he had been recalled from his overseas position, making him the second official of the day who testified in the House impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump to be dismissed.

“I was advised today that the president intends to recall me effective immediately as United States ambassador to the European Union,” Sondland said in a statement.

“I am grateful to President Trump for having given me the opportunity to serve, to Secretary Pompeo for his consistent support, and to the exceptional and dedicated professionals at the U.S. Mission to the European Union. I am proud of our accomplishments. Our work here has been the highlight of my career.”

Sondland initially told lawmakers during his impeachment hearings before the House Intelligence Committee that there was a quid pro quo involving withholding aid to Ukraine for the announcement of an investigation into Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden. He later admitted that he had no evidence to prove his claim, which was just his presumption.

Sondland’s recall followed the dismissal of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman who was fired by the National Security Council (NSC) and escorted out of the White House on Friday.

Democrats have expressed outrage over the White House’s decision with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) calling the move a “clear and brazen act of retaliation.”

“The president’s vindictiveness is precisely what led Republican senators to be accomplices to his coverup. The firing of this patriotic soldier is a sad and shameless loss for America’s security,” Pelosi wrote in a statement.

“History will remember Lieutenant Colonel Vindman as an American hero,” she added.

Meanwhile, Republicans, who perceive a lack of confidence in Sondand and Vindman, argued that President Trump was within his rights to make the recall. 

“A president can recall an ambassador at any time with or without cause. In the case of Gordon Sondland, honestly, the dude was a hot mess,” said Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.).

House Judiciary Committee member Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) in an interview with Fox News’s “The Story” on Friday said the president’s decision was not a surprise, adding that Sondland and Vindman’s statements were often based on mere policy disagreements. 

“There have been a lot of concerns that the NSC may have emanated other leaks,” Gaetz added. “That’s obviously never something you are always able to track down and fully prove in evidence, but I think you want a president, and national security adviser to have full confidence in the NSC.”

“If freshening up that team going into the new post-impeachment era is helpful to the country, I’m all for it,” he said. “The delivery of U.S. foreign policy is going pretty well.”

Join our program