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

Sen. Tammy DuckworthLadda (Tammy) Tammy DuckworthChris Wallace: Kamala Harris 'not far to the left despite what Republicans are gonna try to say' GOP lawmaker: 'Pretty cool' Harris has a shot at being the 'most powerful person in the world' Fox's Ari Fleischer: Harris 'not that historically exciting to African Americans' 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 EsperOvernight Defense: Trump reportedly considering replacing Esper after election | FBI, Air Force investigating after helicopter shot at in Virginia | Watchdog says UK envoy made inappropriate comments on religion, race, sex Trump eyes replacing Esper after election: reports Overnight Defense: Esper confirms plans to drop below 5,000 troops in Afghanistan | State Department says it's cleared of wrongdoing in emergency arms sales before investigation's release 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 TrumpNew Bob Woodward book will include details of 25 personal letters between Trump and Kim Jong Un On The Money: Pelosi, Mnuchin talk but make no progress on ending stalemate | Trump grabs 'third rail' of politics with payroll tax pause | Trump uses racist tropes to pitch fair housing repeal to 'suburban housewife' Biden commemorates anniversary of Charlottesville 'Unite the Right' rally: 'We are in a battle for the soul of our nation' 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.”