In English, to “kick away the ladder” is usually used when one party has achieved something, then removes the means/opportunities, or changes the rules, to prevent other parties from following suit. The image conjured up is of someone using a ladder to scale a wall and then kicking it away to prevent anyone else from following.
Japanese has a similar idiom, 梯子を外す（はしごをはずす）, which on the face of it looks almost identical to the English. I was reading over a JE translation at work last week and came across the abovementioned English idiom, but it didn’t seem to fit the context. The party who was in the process of reaching their goal was accusing a supporter, who was withdrawing some of their support, of “kicking away the ladder”, presumably while the party in question was still on the ladder.
A little research confirmed my suspicion that this is how 梯子を外す is used in Japanese.
Which I think makes it closer in meaning to the English idiom to “pull the rug from under someone’s feet”.
Footnote: It has been brought to my attention that you can say to “kick the ladder out from under someone”, which seems to mean the same thing as “pull the rug from under someone’s feet” / 梯子を外す.