Biden nominates female generals who were passed over by the Pentagon because they feared Trump's reaction

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Thomas Colson
·2 min read
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President Joe Biden has nominated two female generals for promotion months after a report said Pentagon officials blocked the moves because they feared President Trump would reject them due to their gender.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Saturday announced that Air Force Gen. Jacqueline Van Ovost and Army Lt. Gen. Laura Richardson have been nominated for four-star commands pending Senate approval.

Watch: Biden nominates 2 female generals to 4-star commands

Richardson, currently a commanding general, was nominated to run the U.S. Southern Command in Florida, and Van Ovost was nominated to run the U.S. Transportation Command.

-John Kirby (@PentagonPresSec) March 6, 2021

The nominations come after The New York Times reported in February that Mark Esper and Gen. Mark Milley, Trump's joint chiefs of staff, agreed to delay the nomination of both leaders until President Trump had left office.

Both feared that he would oppose the nomination of any candidates who were not white men, the report said, and would pick his own candidates if the nominations were discussed with him.

Esper and Milley decided, as a result, to delay making the nominations until after November's presidential election when Biden defeated Trump, The Times reported.

Esper told The Times: "They 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 D.O.D. was playing politics."

"This was not the case. They were the best qualified. We were doing the right thing," he said.

Esper and Milley's concerns about Trump's opposition to both promotions may have been well-founded, considering the former president made an extensive effort in the last months of his presidency to install loyalists and allies in senior Pentagon roles.

The relationship between Trump and his joint chiefs of staff had soured in the last year of his presidency as they clashed over numerous issues.

NBC News reported that Milley considered resigning after accompanying Trump in military uniform to a controversial photo op in Washington, DC, in July, moments after Trump had threatened to use troops to quell civil unrest in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd.

Trump fired Esper immediately after he lost November's presidential election. Esper, who had long been considered likely to be fired, had been working quietly with Congress to rename military bases named after Confederate leaders, NBC reported.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Watch: Biden endorses female generals after their promotions were held back from Trump