SPONSORED:

Female generals' promotions held back over fears of Trump's response: report

The promotions of two top female generals were delayed in 2020 because top Department of Defense officials worried that former President TrumpDonald TrumpEx-DOJ official Rosenstein says he was not aware of subpoena targeting Democrats: report Ex-Biden adviser says Birx told him she hoped election turned out 'a certain way' Cheney rips Arizona election audit: 'It is an effort to subvert democracy' MORE would accuse the Pentagon of playing politics and nominating them due to their gender, The New York Times reported on Wednesday.

According to the Times, former Defense Secretary Mark EsperMark EsperCotton, Pentagon chief tangle over diversity training in military Navy denies NFL rookie Cameron Kinley's request to delay commission to play for Tampa Bay Overnight Defense: Pentagon keeps Trump-era ban on flying LGBT flags | NATO chief urges 'consequences' for Belarus MORE and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark MilleyMark MilleyConcerns grow over China's Taiwan plans Overnight Defense: Austin and Milley talk budget, Afghanistan, sexual assault and more at wide-ranging Senate hearing Pentagon chief: Military has already started 'over-the-horizon' operations in Afghanistan MORE, feared that Trump would derail the promotions of Air Force Gen. Jacqueline Van Ovost and Army Lt. Gen. Laura Richardson. The two officials reportedly decided to delay the pair's promotions to four-star commands until after the November election, thinking that President BidenJoe BidenEx-Biden adviser says Birx told him she hoped election turned out 'a certain way' Cheney rips Arizona election audit: 'It is an effort to subvert democracy' News leaders deal with the post-Trump era MORE would be more open to promoting the generals.

“They were chosen because they were the best officers for the jobs, and I didn’t want their promotions derailed because someone in the Trump White House saw that I recommended them or thought D.O.D. was playing politics,” Esper told the newspaper. “This was not the case. They were the best qualified. We were doing the right thing.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Milley likely would have made the recommendations had Trump won the November election, the Times reports, but he expected the two to have an easier time with the selection process under a Biden White House.

The Hill has reached out to the Pentagon for further comment. 

Van Ovost and Richardson are set to be recommended in the coming weeks by Milley and Defense Secretary Lloyd AustinLloyd AustinConcerns grow over China's Taiwan plans Overnight Defense: Austin and Milley talk budget, Afghanistan, sexual assault and more at wide-ranging Senate hearing Austin says he's 'concerned' about Iranian ships in Atlantic MORE to take over U.S. Transportation Command and U.S. Southern Command, respectively, two posts previously held by men.

Esper's characterization of the delay was disputed by former acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller, who told the Times that it centered on "timing considerations, not that they were women."

The Defense Department was the subject of another cultural battle in the waning months of the Trump administration due to Democrats' push to rename U.S. military installations named after figures from the Confederacy, such as Virginia's Fort Lee. Trump fiercely resisted the push and vetoed the annual National Defense Authorization Act in 2020 over the issue, forcing the Senate to issue its first veto override of Trump's presidency.