by WorldTribune Staff, July 9, 2020
Democrat Sen. Tammy Duckworth is continuing her hold on more than 1,000 military promotions because the Department of Defense has not promoted Alexander Vindman, a star witness in the Democrats’ partisan impeachment of President Donald Trump.
Last week, Duckworth announced she would block Senate confirmation of 1,123 senior military officers until Defense Secretary Mark Esper confirmed in writing that he would not block Vindman’s promotion to colonel, Breitbart News reported.
Duckworth, of Illinois, said on Wednesday she was continuing the hold until she gets answers on Lt. Col. Vindman’s promotion to colonel.
Reuters reported that Esper and Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy had both approved Vindman for promotion in a list that was “due to be sent to the White House in the coming days,” according to a senior U.S. defense official.
Vindman announced his retirement from the Army on Wednesday, writing on Twitter: “Today I officially requested retirement from the US Army, an organization I love. My family and I look forward to the next chapter of our lives.”
Vindman was fired in February from the National Security Council and escorted off the White House grounds two days after the Senate acquitted Trump in his impeachment trial.
Duckworth’s office released a statement on Wednesday saying the senator, who is reportedly among the top contenders to be Joe Biden’s running mate, “has still not received confirmation from the Secretary of Defense that the U.S. Department of the Army submitted a list of promotions to be Colonel that included Lt. Col. Vindman, nor has the Secretary confirmed whether he sent that list to the White House for review.”
The statement continued: “As Senator Duckworth noted when she first placed this partial hold, this incident went ‘far beyond any single military officer, it is about protecting a merit-based system from political corruption and unlawful retaliation.’ Accordingly, Senator Duckworth will keep her partial hold in place until the Secretary of Defense provides a transparent accounting of this disgraceful situation.”
Duckworth said in the statement that Esper had failed to “protect” Vindman.
“Lt. Col. Vindman’s decision to retire puts the spotlight on Secretary of Defense Mark Esper’s failure to protect a decorated combat Veteran against a vindictive Commander in Chief,” Duckworth said.
“Secretary Esper’s failure to protect his troops sets a new, dark precedent that any Commander in Chief can interfere with routine merit-based military promotions to carry out personal vendettas and retaliation against military officers who follow duly-authorized subpoenas while upholding their oath of office and core principles of service,” she said.