A top-ranking Army officer has been allowed to retire honorably after his public spat with Fox News host Tucker Carlson became a flashpoint for the politicization of the military and triggered an investigation into his social media use.
Maj. Gen. Patrick Donahoe told Military.com that he has “retired honorably and without any reprimand or admonishment” after his planned July retirement was delayed by the investigation.
He announced his retirement on Twitter minutes into the new year, saying, “Elvis has left the building.”
Donahoe, an avid Twitter user, came under fire in 2021 for his response to a segment on Carlson’s show about women serving in the military, .
Carlson criticized the Army for enlisting women, adding that the U.S. military is becoming “more feminine” while China’s “becomes more masculine.”
In response, Donahoe said Carlson “couldn’t be more wrong” while posting a video of himself re-enlisting a female staff sergeant.
Other top military leaders also publicly backed Donahoe and female troops, sparking enough public discourse that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) accused them of political partisanship, Military.com reported. The incident brought together two ongoing trends: politicians focusing their ire on inclusive military policies, and military branches deepening the integration of females and males among their ranks.
After an anonymous complaint, an inspector general investigation found that “while potentially admirable,” Donahoe’s post had brought “negative publicity” down on the Army, as reported by Task & Purpose.
A senior Army official told Military.com that investigations are sometimes weaponized to hold up a service member’s retirement. Some people familiar with the investigation reportedly believed the complaints against Donahoe were rooted in partisanship, Military.com reported.
While awaiting the investigation’s results, Donahoe was “temporarily assigned as a special assistant to the Commanding General of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command,” an Army spokesperson told Army Times.