Army general retires with clean record after online Carlson spat

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An Army general whose online feud with Fox News host Tucker Carlson about women in the military prompted an Inspector General’s inquiry was allowed to retire over the weekend with his rank intact and his full pay and benefits.

Maj. Gen. Patrick Donahoe told The Washington Times on Tuesday that he just picked up his newly-issued retirement identification card identifying him as a two-star general, his final rank while in uniform.

“I’m proud of my service and excited about the future,” said Gen. Donahoe, who retired after more than 33 years in uniform.

Gen. Donahoe, the former commander of Fort Benning, Georgia, used his Twitter account to publicly rebuke Mr. Carlson for a segment in March 2021 in which he criticized the Defense Department as being “too feminine,” citing the issue of pregnant women in uniform.

Gen. Donahoe responded with a Tweet that showed him conducting a reenlistment ceremony for a woman in the Army.

“Just a reminder that (Tucker Carlson) couldn’t be more wrong,” he tweeted.

Other senior Army leaders voiced their ire against Mr. Carlson by responding with their own Tweets that backed Gen. Donahoe‘s comments. Former Defense Department spokesman John Kirby, now working in the White House, also lashed out at him, telling Pentagon reporters that they won’t “take personnel advice from a talk show host.”

The military pile-on prompted a letter to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin from Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas Republican.

“Instead of allowing the debate to take its course in public among American citizens and their elected leaders, military officials over the last week have repeatedly launched attacks on Carlson, including through official (Department of Defense) platforms and accounts and while in uniform,” Mr. Cruz wrote. “The campaign has alternated between being ostentatiously childish and simply outrageous.”

Army leaders eventually throttled back on their online public relations campaign against Mr. Carlson. An Army Inspector General report concluded that Gen. Donahoe‘s comment, while potentially admirable, brought negative attention to the Army.

Army Secretary Christine Wormuth later told military officers to remain apolitical and steer clear of the ongoing “culture wars.”

Gen. Donahoe said the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army told him in November that there would be no reprimands or admonishments following the IG investigation. In a statement, he called himself “immensely proud” to have served in the Army with “the best team in the world.”

“Best teammates I could have asked for and the hardest and most rewarding missions,” he said.

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