Trump participates in swearing-in of first African American service chief

Trump participates in swearing-in of first African American service chief
© Getty Images

President TrumpDonald John TrumpNew Biden campaign ad jabs at Trump's reported 0 income tax payments Ocasio-Cortez: Trump contributed less in taxes 'than waitresses and undocumented immigrants' Third judge orders Postal Service to halt delivery cuts MORE on Tuesday participated in a swearing-in ceremony for the U.S. military’s first African American service chief, Gen. Charles “C.Q.” Brown, who will serve as Air Force chief of staff. 

“You’re family is very proud of you,” Trump said in the Oval Office ceremony Tuesday afternoon alongside Brown and his family. The president complemented Brown’s career, adding, “And I’m very proud.” 

Brown said he was honored to have the opportunity and expressed gratitude to administration officials, military leaders and his family.

ADVERTISEMENT

 “It is a distinct honor for me to have this opportunity,” Brown said in brief remarks. “I feel very honored and blessed.”

Vice President Pence, who presided over Brown’s historic confirmation in June, administered the oath of office during the brief ceremony.

Brown will replace retiring Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein, who, along with Defense Secretary Mark EsperMark EsperTrump, Pentagon collide over anti-diversity training push Overnight Defense: Stopgap spending measure awaits Senate vote | Trump nominates former Nunes aide for intelligence community watchdog | Trump extends ban on racial discrimination training to contractors, military Overnight Defense: Pentagon redirects pandemic funding to defense contractors | US planning for full Afghanistan withdrawal by May | Anti-Trump GOP group puts ads in military papers MORE, also participated in Tuesday’s ceremony. The Air Force is expected to have its own official ceremony to mark Brown's swearing-in on Thursday. 

Trump noted at one point that he moved the event – which the president was not originally expected to attend – to the West Wing. The ceremony was initially scheduled to take place in the vice president’s ceremonial office.

“I said this is the big leagues and we have to have you and your family over to celebrate,” Trump said.

Brown was confirmed in a unanimous 98-0 vote by the Senate in June to become the next chief of staff of the Air Force. Brown is the first African American to sit on the Joint Chiefs of Staff since Colin PowellColin Luther PowellHow each of us can help to cure our nation's ills Bush endorsing Biden? Don't hold your breath Red meat for the right wingers will be the main course at RNC MORE served as its chairman from 1989 to 1993.

ADVERTISEMENT

Brown previously served as the commander of Pacific Air Forces, the air component command of the United States Indo-Pacific Command. 

The confirmation comes amid growing unrest over the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who died at the hands of Minneapolis police.

Trump and his administration have faced criticism for their handling of racial injustice protests spurred across the country by Floyd’s death.