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Senator Blocks Air Force Colonel’s Military Promotion Over ‘Divisive DEI Policies’


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The Daily Signal

Rob Bluey

December 18, 2023

When the U.S. Senate unanimously approved 425 military promotions earlier this month, one person was missing from the list: Col. Ben Jonsson, the Air Force officer who espoused controversial views on race and diversity.

Sen. Eric Schmitt, R-Mo., stepped in to hold Jonsson’s ascension to brigadier general after a 10-month blockade of all military promotions by Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala. When fellow Republicans threatened to join Democrats to circumvent Tuberville by changing Senate rules, the senator withdrew his objection.

As a result, military officers who were singled out for their “woke” views on race, sexuality, and COVID-19 had their promotions swiftly approved Dec. 5—except for Jonsson and about a dozen other high-ranking generals. Senators then voted Thursday to give the promoted military officers retroactive pay for the time they waited.

The Daily Signal first reported in August on Jonsson’s views on diversity, equity, and inclusion—and his endorsement of a book on critical race theory. The story prompted The Heritage Foundation’s Oversight Project to request and obtain a Defense Department “climate” assessment of during Jonsson’s leadership of MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida. (The Daily Signal is Heritage’s news outlet.)

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