Another Republican senator is blocking a handful of military promotions, now for championing diversity

sen. eric schmitt missouri
Sen. Eric Schmitt speaks to a reporter before attending a Republican Senate policy luncheon at the U.S. Capitol Building on September 19, 2023, in Washington, DC.Anna Moneymaker
  • GOP Sen. Tommy Tuberville lifted his hold on more than 400 military promotions on Tuesday.

  • His Republican colleague is now blocking promotions for five officers.

  • The holds are due to the officers' "stances or actions relating to" DEI programs, his office said.

Mere days after Republican Sen. Tommy Tuberville lifted his block on more than 400 military promotions, one of his colleagues has in-part taken up the mantle.

NewsNation reported Thursday afternoon that Sen. Eric Schmitt, who's represented Missouri in the upper chamber since January, is currently holding up the promotions of five officers due to their views on diversity and inclusion.

The report did not specify which specific officers are being prevented from ascending in rank, but the senator's press secretary confirmed the senator's hold — and specifically that it's tied to championing diversity — to the publication in a statement.

"Senator Schmitt has placed a hold on a handful of promotions relating to concerns that he has regarding those nominees' stances or actions relating to divisive Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) programs in the military," the unnamed press secretary said.

Schmitt's office did not respond to Business Insider's request for comment.

Schmitt began his hold on the five military promotions just a few days after Tuberville put an end to his months-long block of more than 400 promotions in response to the Department of Defense's decision in 2022 to reimburse service members who travel out of state for abortion-related care.

The Senate has since confirmed 425 promotions, though Tuberville said he's still blocking some for around 11 four-star generals.

In a statement he made to the Washington Examiner on Thursday regarding the final draft of the National Defense Authorization Act and his two "anti-DEI amendments" that made the final cut, Schmitt bashed all DEI initiatives connected to the Department of Defense.

"DEI has no place in our military, which has long been the world's greatest meritocracy," he said.

In March, Schmitt sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin regarding military job listings for DEI-related positions, some set to earn close to $200,000 per year. In it, he said the military's "prioritization of DEI weakens America's ability to challenge our adversaries."

The military isn't the only thing Schmitt wants to rid of DEI: In November, the senator introduced the "Abolish Government DEI Act," which if enacted would immediately terminate 40 government offices, agencies, and commissions relating to diversity, inclusion, and civil rights.

The bill, however, will likely never be brought to a vote in the Senate under the leadership of Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

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