The US military has suspended a three-star general from his role as a lucrative consultant after a social media post appearing under his name mocked first lady Jill Biden’s support for abortion rights.
Former Army spokesman Gary Volesky, who retired as a lieutenant general and earned a silver star for bravery while serving in Iraq, earned $92 an hour in advising military officers, staff and students who were participating in war games and other similar activities.
But then a Twitter account under his name responded to a statement by Biden that condemned the Supreme Court’s June 24 decision to overturn its landmark 1973 decision in Roe v Wade that had established federal abortion rights.
“For nearly 50 years, women have had the right to make their own decisions about their bodies,” the Democratic first lady said of the ruling, which effectively banned abortion in more than half the country. “Today, that right has been stolen from us.”
An account by the name of Volesky replied, “Glad to see you finally know what a woman is.” Some on the platform interpreted the remark as a verbal jab at Biden’s White House support for the transgender community.
On Saturday, an army spokesman said the commander of the military branch’s combined arms center, Lt. Gen. Theodore Martin, suspended Volesky from his consulting firm pending an investigation into whether the tweet in question violated rules of decorum for retired officers.
USA Today was first to report on Volesky’s suspension, which marked the latest disciplinary action against a relatively prominent military figure to make headlines. Some observers – including liberal news outlet Axios – viewed the suspension as unusual because the country’s military officials are trying to avoid getting involved in partisan political disputes.
Before retiring in 2020, Volesky was in charge of US ground forces in Iraq and led the army’s famed 101st Airborne Division, which is perhaps best known for spearheading the invasion. of Normandy during World War II.
He was awarded the Silver Star – the US military’s third highest honor for bravery – for his actions in 2004 after his battalion came under attack in an area of greater Baghdad. The ensuing 80-day battle left eight soldiers killed and 50 others wounded.
Volesky, who also served in Afghanistan, also served as the Army’s public affairs chief during his 36-year career with the military branch.
The tweet by Volesky’s name to Biden wasn’t the only one aimed at a woman in politics. When Wyoming Republican Rep. Liz Cheney announced she would serve on the congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, a tweet on behalf of Volesky challenged her claim that the work of the panel would be “above partisan politics”.
“It’s a matter of partisan politics,” said a response on behalf of Volesky.