President Joe Biden on Sunday nominated two top female generals to elite, four-star commands, recommendations postponed by months by then-Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley because both leaders feared then-President Donald Trump wouldn’t be supportive of having women in leadership roles, reports The New York Times.
Esper and Milley, per the Times, worried that if they even brought up the names of Gen. Jacqueline D. Van Ovost of the Air Force and Lt. Gen. Laura J. Richardson of the Army that Trump would replace them with their own candidates before leaving office.
“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 Senate still needs to approve the promotions of Van Ovost, who has been nominated to head the Transportation Command, which oversees the military’s sprawling global transportation network, and Richardson, who has been nominated to head the Southern Command, which oversees military commands in Latin America.
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