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

Sen. Tammy DuckworthLadda (Tammy) Tammy DuckworthProgressives push back on decision to shrink Biden's paid family leave program Senate Democrats ditch Hyde amendment for first time in decades Building back better by investing in workers and communities 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 EsperThree key behind-the-scenes figures in Jan. 6 probe Trump Defense chief blocked idea to send 250,000 troops to border: report Overnight Defense & National Security — Afghanistan concerns center stage with G-20 MORE confirms that he is not going to block the promotion of Lt. Col. Alexander VindmanAlexander VindmanOvernight Defense & National Security — Presented by Raytheon Technologies — Nation mourns Colin Powell Progressive veterans group endorses McAuliffe in Virginia governor's race Should reporters Woodward, Costa have sat on Milley-Trump bombshell for months? 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 TrumpSix big off-year elections you might be missing Twitter suspends GOP Rep. Banks for misgendering trans health official Meghan McCain to Trump: 'Thanks for the publicity' 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.”