Biden nominates female generals whose promotions were reportedly delayed under Trump

President BidenJoe BidenDearborn office of Rep. Debbie Dingell vandalized Pfizer to apply for COVID-19 booster approval for 16- and 17-year-olds: report Coronavirus variant raises fresh concerns for economy MORE nominated two female generals for promotions on Saturday, months after former President TrumpDonald TrumpPence: Supreme Court has chance to right 'historic wrong' with abortion ruling Prosecutor says during trial that actor Jussie Smollett staged 'fake hate crime' Overnight Defense & National Security — US, Iran return to negotiating table MORE’s Pentagon officials reportedly delayed recommending they be promoted out of a concern the former president would reject them because they are women.

The Pentagon issued two announcements declaring that Air Force Gen. Jacqueline Van Ovost and Army Lt. Gen. Laura Richardson will take on new assignments to four-star commands if approved by the Senate as expected.

Van Ovost will lead the Transportation Command, which manages the military’s global transportation network.


Richardson is slated to move up from commanding general of the U.S. Army North in Joint Base San Antonio, Texas, to become the head of the Southern Command that handles military activities in Latin America.

The only female four-star general in the U.S. military currently serves as the commander of the Air Force’s Mobility Command at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois.


The Department of Defense’s (DOD) announcement comes after The New York Times reported last month that former Secretary of Defense Mark EsperMark EsperThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden to update Americans on omicron; Congress back Former defense secretary Esper sues Pentagon in memoir dispute Overnight Defense & National Security — Presented by Boeing — Major Russia weapons test stokes tensions MORE and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark MilleyMark MilleyTrump goes after Woodward, Costa over China Russian military buildup puts Washington on edge Overnight Defense & National Security — Russian military moves cause for concern MORE postponed endorsing their promotions in 2020.

Esper and Milley had decided not to recommend Van Ovost and Richardson for the positions in an attempt to protect their careers, as they worried Trump would not approve of placing women in the leadership positions and instead would nominate different candidates.


“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 DOD was playing politics,” Esper told the Times last month. “This was not the case. They were the best qualified. We were doing the right thing.” 

The defense officials decided to wait until after the presidential election to see if the two could be nominated under a potential Biden administration. Trump fired Esper six days after the election, but the women were still not recommended for their promotions.

Former Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller, who took over after Esper’s ouster, told the Times last month that Van Ovost and Richardson were not suggested for promotions because of “timing considerations, not that they were women.”

Current Defense Secretary Lloyd AustinLloyd AustinOvernight Defense & National Security — US, Iran return to negotiating table Four-star general to lead Pentagon investigation into Syria airstrike that killed dozens Pentagon rejects Oklahoma's request to exempt Guard from vaccine mandate MORE declined to tell the newspaper last month how far Esper and Milley went to make sure the women were promoted but said, “I would just say that I’ve seen the records of both of these women. They are outstanding.”