Duckworth to block military confirmations until Esper proves Vindman will be promoted

Sen. Tammy DuckworthLadda (Tammy) Tammy DuckworthBiden campaign says no VP pick yet after bike trail quip Biden edges closer to VP pick: Here's who's up and who's down Whitmer met with Biden days before VP announcement: report MORE (D-Ill.) announced Thursday that she is blocking the Senate confirmation of 1,123 senior U.S. Armed Forces promotions until Defense Secretary Mark EsperMark EsperPentagon sends 3 cargo planes to Lebanon filled with aid as questions on blast remain Overnight Defense: Esper says 'most believe' Beirut explosion was accident, contradicting Trump | Trump later says 'nobody knows yet' what happened in Lebanon | 61-year-old reservist ID'd as fourth military COVID-19 death Trump tempers his description of Beirut explosion as an attack: 'Nobody knows yet' MORE confirms that he is not going to block the promotion of Lt. Col. Alexander VindmanAlexander VindmanVindman describes 'campaign of bullying, intimidation and retaliation' by Trump, allies in op-ed Vindman marks 1 year since call that led to Trump's impeachment White House officials alleged Vindman created hostile work environment after impeachment testimony: report MORE to colonel.

Vindman, a decorated Iraq War veteran who served on the staff of the White House’s National Security Council, was a prominent witness in the impeachment inquiry into President TrumpDonald John TrumpDeWine tests negative for coronavirus a second time Several GOP lawmakers express concern over Trump executive orders Beirut aftermath poses test for US aid to frustrating ally MORE last year.

Trump removed Vindman from his position with the National Security Council after his testimony, but Duckworth is pushing to make sure that the administration does not deny him his expected promotion to colonel.

The Illinois Democrat, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, accused Trump in a statement Thursday of trying to “politicize the nation’s Armed Forces.” She is asking for Esper to provide written confirmation that Vindman will be promoted to colonel. 

“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.”