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No punishment for general who took on Tucker Carlson on Twitter; retires honorably

U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Patrick Donahoe, commanding general of the U.S. Army Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning, Georgia, gives opening remarks to the Georgia Joint Defense Commission April 22, 2021. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Capt. Bryant Wine)
January 04, 2023

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 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, 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 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, 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.