Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth said on Thursday she would block more than 1,000 military promotions until Defense Secretary Mark Esper promises not to block the promotion of Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, Politico reports.
Duckworth, an Iraq War veteran, said she would block 1,123 promotions until Esper "confirms in writing that he did not, or will not, block the expected and deserved promotion" of Vindman.
"Our military is supposed to be the ultimate meritocracy," Duckworth said. "It is simply unprecedented and wrong for any Commander in Chief to meddle in routine military matters at all, whether or not he has a personal vendetta against a Soldier who did his patriotic duty and told the truth — a Soldier who has been recommended for promotion by his superiors because of his performance. I won’t just sit by and let it happen, and neither should any of my colleagues."
"This goes far beyond any single military officer, it is about protecting a merit-based system from political corruption and unlawful retaliation," Duckworth added.
"It is disappointing that Senator Duckworth would willingly impede the careers of more than a thousand deserving Army officers, many of whom are deployed overseas defending our country," a Pentagon official said. "In addition, among those officers is the nominated next Chief of the National Guard Bureau, who, if confirmed, would be responsible for leading tens of thousands of Guardsmen deployed around the country helping local communities fight Covid-19."
Vindman drew Trump’s ire in impeachment:
Vindman was a key impeachment witness and has drawn repeated attacks from President Donald Trump.
The New York Times reported last month that Vindman’s promotion to colonel was “imperiled” by Trump’s attacks.
The White House also pulled the nomination of Elaine McCusker, who raised the alarm over the administration’s pressure on Ukraine and recalled EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland after he corroborated the Democrats’ case.