She had previously vowed to block the nominations until Esper confirmed in writing that he would not block the promotion of Vindman.
Vindman, a notable witness in President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, announced his retirement from the Army on Wednesday.
His lawyer released a statement describing the “bullying” he endured from Trump.
“Through a campaign of bullying, intimidation, and retaliation, the President of the United States attempted to force LTC Vindman to choose: Between adhering to the law or pleasing a president,” the statement reads.
It continues, “Between honoring his oath or protecting his career. Between protecting his promotion or the promotion of his fellow soldiers. These are the choices that no one in the United States should confront, especially one who has dedicated his life to serving it.”
Lt Col Vindman is retiring from the Army, @PaulaReidCBS confirms. His lawyer says in a statement he endured "a campaign of bullying, intimidation, and retaliation" from President Trump. "Vindman's patriotism has cost him his career," the statement says. @CBSNews pic.twitter.com/KW3Oa4bLMy— Sara Cook (@saraecook) July 8, 2020
Duckworth released a statement of her own responding to Vindman’s decision to retire and claiming that Esper failed to protect him from the Trump administration.
“Lt. Col. Vindman’s decision to retire puts the spotlight on Secretary of Defense Mark Esper’s failure to protect a decorated combat Veteran against a vindictive Commander in Chief,” Duckworth said.
She added, “Secretary Esper’s failure to protect his troops sets a new, dark precedent that any Commander in Chief can interfere with routine merit-based military promotions to carry out personal vendettas and retaliation against military officers who follow duly-authorized subpoenas while upholding their oath of office and core principles of service.”
NEW: Sen. Tammy Duckworth slams Esper for “failure to protect a decorated combat Veteran against a vindictive Commander in Chief.”— Connor O'Brien (@connorobrienNH) July 8, 2020
Duckworth says she’ll keep her hold on 1,123 military promotions until she gets “a transparent accounting” of the Vindman situation. pic.twitter.com/NMnN1OXpHi
Duckworth responded, “Does [Tucker Carlson] want to walk a mile in my legs and then tell me whether or not I love America?”
Carlson’s comments came shortly after Duckworth expressed her support for the removal of George Washington memorials.