Politics Trump's Pentagon reportedly held off promoting 2 female generals over fears of how the White House might react
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- The Pentagon delayed nominations for promotion for two female generals over concerns about Trump.
- Former Defense Secretary Mark Esper acknowledged that the nominations were delayed.
- "I didn't want their promotions derailed," Esper said.
The Pentagon held off on promoting two female generals over concerns about how then-President Donald Trump might react,.
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Happy Wednesday and welcome to Overnight Defense. I'm Rebecca Kheel, and here's your nightly guide to the latest developments at the Pentagon, on Capitol Hill and beyond. CLICK HERE to subscribe to the newsletter.THE TOPLINE: Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) on Wednesday held his first media roundtable since becoming Senate Armed Services Committee chairman, and it was a wide ranging conversation touching on everything from extremism in the ranks to the defense budget to the U.S. military footprint abroad.
Last fall, Mark Esper, then the secretary of defense, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley decided that Air Force Gen. Jacqueline D. Van Ovost and Army Lt. Gen. Laura J. Richardson should be promoted to four-star commands, but they didn't immediately move forward due to concerns that the nominations would hit a roadblock at the White House.
that "the two Pentagon leaders feared that any candidates other than white men for jobs mostly held by white men might run into turmoil." Other political factors may have also been involved.
Esper and Milley reportedly decided to delay the nominations until Trump and his team were out of office, assuming that a new Biden administration would be more willing to accept the nominations than the Trump White House with which Esper and Milley had occasionally fought.
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Happy Monday and welcome to Overnight Defense. I'm Rebecca Kheel, and here's your nightly guide to the latest developments at the Pentagon, on Capitol Hill and beyond. CLICK HERE to subscribe to the newsletter.THE TOPLINE: As the Pentagon looks to root out extremists from its ranks, one of the issues it faces is extremist groups actively recruiting service members.On Monday, the Defense Department's top spokesman said such groups "veryTHE TOPLINE: As the Pentagon looks to root out extremists from its ranks, one of the issues it faces is extremist groups actively recruiting service members.
Esper, who was fired shortly after the presidential election, acknowledgedthat the submission of the promotion nominations were delayed, specifically noting the political concerns.
Van Ovost and Richardson, who were expected to be nominated to lead Transportation Command and Southern Command, "were chosen because they were the best officers for the jobs, and I didn't want their promotions derailed because someone in the Trump White House saw that I recommended them or thought DoD was playing politics," he said. "This was not the case. They were the best qualified. We were doing the right thing."
Trump and other members of his administration sometimes feuded with both Esper and Milley.
The two mento send active-duty troops into cities to stop unrest surrounding racial justice protests, following the forceful clearing of peaceful protesters from a park, and .
New York Times: Trump Pentagon officials delayed promotions of female generals due to fear over Trump's reaction
Promotions of two female generals were delayed by Pentagon officials until after the 2020 presidential election out of fear of "turmoil" from President Donald Trump's White House, The New York Times reported Wednesday. © Mark Wilson/Getty Images US Army Gen. Laura Richardson (L) sits behind US Army Chief of Staff, Mark Milley while testifies about women in the military during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, February 2, 2016 in Washington, DC. The committee heard testimony on a recent decision to open combat units to women. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen.
Esper and Milley reportedly feared that if they sent their nomination to the president, the White House would simply replace their choice with someone else. Had Trump won the election though, they would have submitted the nominations to the White House and hoped for the best.
In the wake of the 2020 presidential election, the Pentagon underwent upheaval as the.
Chris Miller, who took over as acting secretary of defense after Esper's departure, disputed other assertions on the delays,that the promotion nominations for the two generals were delayed due to timing considerations and were purposefully held back until the new Congress took office.
The Pentagon did not respond to Insider's requests for comments on the reported promotion delays.
Van Ovost currently oversees a four-star command as head of Air Force Mobility Command, and Richardson is the three-star commander of the Army branch of Northern Command.
Their nominations for promotion are expected to be sent to the White House for endorsement within the next few weeks.
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Happy Monday and welcome to Overnight Defense. I'm Rebecca Kheel, and here's your nightly guide to the latest developments at the Pentagon, on Capitol Hill and beyond. CLICK HERE to subscribe to the newsletter.THE TOPLINE: A rocket attack in Iraq landed near the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad on Monday, the third rocket strike near U.S. interests in Iraq in a week.Two rockets landed in the Green Zone, the heavily guarded area of Baghdad that houses government buildings and foreign embassies. Iraqi security officials told The Associated Press the target was the U.S. Embassy.