Conservative Group Calls On Senate To Reject Promotions For Pentagon DEI Military Nominees

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  • Republican Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville has put a hold on the confirmation of over 300 military nominations in protest of the Pentagon’s abortion policy.
  • A major conservative advocacy group has decried a number of these nominees for their embrace of leftist initiatives, separate from Tuberville’s ongoing battle with the Pentagon.
  • A number of these nominees represent “One big Marxist struggle session,” according to one expert who spoke to the Daily Caller News Foundation.

A major conservative advocacy group is calling on the Senate to reject a number of the Pentagon’s military promotion nominees over concerns about their support of diversity, equity and inclusion(DEI) and LGBTQ initiatives.

Republican Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville has blocked the confirmation of over 300 military nominations in the Senate since February to protest the Pentagon’s policy that funds female service members’ out-of-state travel to seek an abortion. The Citizens for Renewing America denounced dozens of these nominees for their embrace of leftist initiatives and said they should be denied confirmation, regardless of the ongoing dispute between Tuberville and the Pentagon. (RELATED: ‘Disqualifying’: GOP Senator’s Hold On Pentagon Nominees Is Keeping Out Left-Wing ‘Diversity’ Advocates)

“The neo-Marxist have gotten their hands on the policies of the Pentagon and are trying to turn the military into one big Marxist struggle session,” Wade Miller, executive director of Citizens for Renewing America, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “These military officers are also pushing race-based and sex-based promotion, which is a violation of federal law. They should be court-martialed – certainly not promoted.”

A new review of public records reveals that more of the Pentagon’s nominees support these initiatives than previously reported. For example, Navy Rear Adm. lower half Michael Donnelly is currently nominated for the position of rear admiral and assignment as director of Air War Division, N98, Office of Chief of Naval Operations.

Donnelly served as the commanding officer of the USS Ronald Reagan from April 2016 to September 2018, according to U.S. Indo-Pacific Command. During his tenure, Yeoman 2nd Class Joshua Kelley, who also goes by his drag-queen alias “Harpy Daniels,” performed drag shows – authorized by the Morale, Welfare, and Recreation Department – for his fellow sailors aboard the USS Reagan.

“Those outside my command don’t know I’m the drag queen who slayed on the ship,” Kelley told the Navy Times. “To most sailors, I’m just YN2 Kelley. Once they find out I’m Harpy Daniels, I’m praised as an inspiration and see so much joy in their reactions for simply being who I am.”



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As commanding officer of the USS Reagan, Donnelly would have been aware of “Harpy Daniels” drag shows as the large amount of press Kelley was receiving “would have been a standard reporting requirement directly to Captain Donnelly at the time,” according to William Thibeau, director of The American Military Project at The Claremont Institute, who spoke to the Daily Signal.

“The USS Ronald Reagan drag shows of 2017 and 2018 were not random acts of entertainment for sailors, but were sanctioned Navy programs,” Thibeau told the Signal. “As commander of the ship, Captain Donnelly would have been ultimately responsible for this program.”

Donnelly did not respond through the Navy to previous requests for comment on the drag shows aboard the USS Reagan, according to the Signal. He also did not immediately respond through the Navy to a request for comment from the DCNF.

Another example is Army Maj. Gen. Andrew M. Rohling, who is currently nominated for the position of lieutenant general. While he was a commanding general in 2020, Rohling gave a speech at the Army’s “Project Inclusion” workshop and touted the Army’s efforts to prioritize DEI initiatives. (RELATED: ‘I Hire For Diversity’: Pentagon Nominees Blocked By GOP Senator Are Pushing Left-Wing Initiatives To Reshape Military)

“Project Inclusion is aimed at enacting Army-wide initiatives that promote diversity, equity and inclusion,” Rohling said. “As America’s most respected institution, we must lead on these issues. We must work to end bias and prejudice in all its forms, and ensure equal opportunity, dignity, and respect for all.”

Rohling, whose nomination is currently held up in the Senate, lashed out at Tuberville for his “reprehensible, irresponsible and dangerous blockade,” according to Punchbowl News. Rohling abruptly pleaded with senators to “help us overcome” Tuberville’s blockade while on a visit to Capitol Hill in July.

Navy Capt. Neil Koprowski is currently nominated for the position of rear admiral. During “pride month” on the USS Kearsarge in 2020, Koprowski spoke about the importance of bringing LGBTQ initiatives into the spotlight and touted his efforts to implement a “Gay, Lesbian and Supportive Sailors” (GLASS) chapter aboard the carrier, according to The Flagship.

“One of the things I appreciate most about diversity events like today’s is it gives us all an opportunity to demonstrate solidarity with our Shipmates—each and every one of them,” Koprowski said during a pride event aboard the USS Kearsarge, which was adorned with rainbow-colored flags and posters, according to The Flagship. “We implemented a GLASS chapter onboard Kearsarge last year during deployment to provide our Sailors with year-round support culminating with a celebration like the one we held today.”

A similar pride event was held aboard the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower at the behest of Navy Rear Adm. Lower Half Paul Spedero Jr., according to The Flagship. The USS Eisenhower hosted members of GLASS for the event and Spedero gave a speech praising LGBTQ servicemembers for their “continuing contributions.”

“I’m appreciative of the team that put today’s program together in recognition of the dedication and contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender members,” Spedero said, according to the Flagship. “We recognize their continuing contributions even in light of seemingly insurmountable obstacles placed in their path through ignorance and prejudice.”

“And while we recognized the injustice of the past and even the struggle that continues today, we will also celebrate the progress that has been made to ensure a more inclusive and stronger fighting force,” Spedero said.

Tuberville, still at odds with the Pentagon, has maintained his confirmation hold, leading Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to cave and hold individual votes on nominees last week, which Tuberville called a “legislative win” for Congress. During the recent confirmation of Navy Adm. Lisa Franchetti, Tuberville encouraged the admiral to focus on building a team – rather than making politics a priority.

“I know you can do that job – I’m looking forward to it,” Tuberville told Franchetti.

Each nominee’s military command has not responded to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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