Despite bringing “negative media attention” to the military, a retired general did not violate any rules with his mocking tweet about First Lady Jill Bien, according to a report on an Army inquiry.
While the Army was not happy about his social media take on President Joe Biden’s wife, Retired Lt. Gen. Gary Volesky was found to not have broken any rules, according to a report on the investigation that was obtained by USA Today through a Freedom of Information Act request.
The tweet by Volesky that sparked the controversy came after Jill Biden weighed in last year on the Supreme Court’s decision that overturned Roe v. Wade.
“For nearly 50 years,” she wrote, ”women have had the right to make our own decisions about our bodies. Today, that right was stolen.”
For nearly 50 years, women have had the right to make our own decisions about our bodies.
Today, that right was stolen from us.
And while we may be devastated by this injustice, we will not be silent. We will not sit back as the progress we have already won slips away.
— Jill Biden (@FLOTUS) June 24, 2022
The retired general snarked back with a response on Twitter.
“Glad to see you finally know what a woman is,” the Silver Star recipient wrote in a tweet from his personal account which USA Today noted was deleted after the outlet “reported on the matter.” He was also reportedly suspended from his job.
According to the news outlet:
The Army launched its investigation into Volesky’s use of social media after a USA TODAY report on the issue. Volesky, though retired from the military, was hired by the federal government to advise the Army.
In June 2022, three days before Volesky posted his tweet, Volesky had notified the Army that he did not intend to renew his $92-per-hour consulting contract that was scheduled to lapse in September, according to the report.
“I’ve already resigned, I don’t know why this would be a big deal,” the former top spokesman for the Army reportedly replied when an investigator asked him about the tweet which he admitted he had written.
Being a paid Pentagon consultant made his actions more inappropriate according to experts in civilian-military relations, USA Today noted though the report stated that his comments were made within his “personal capacity.”
Volesky, who retired from the Army in 2020, was reportedly paid $50,046 by the Army for work he performed from November 2020 to August 2021. He was paid an additional $18,952 from September 2021 to June 2022.
“The original senior mentor program had almost vanished after an investigation in 2009 by USA TODAY found that retired officers were being paid as much as $330 an hour to advise military services. Most of the mentors were also working for defense firms seeking to sell products to the Pentagon,” USA Today noted.
“Because the retired officers were hired as contractors, few ethics rules applied,” the outlet continued. “In some cases, mentors were paid by the military to run war games involving weapons systems made by their consulting clients. The Pentagon and Congress intervened, requiring the mentors to be hired as government employees, subject to pay caps and required to file public financial disclosure forms.”
Army Lt. Gen. Theodore Martin, commander of the Combined Arms Center at Fort Leavenworth, suspended Volesky in June 2022 “from any current and future duties/assignments,” according to the report which cited a 2013 “Army Social Media Guide,” that was signed by then-Brig. Gen. Volesky himself.
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