WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate on Thursday confirmed the nomination of an Air Force normal to change into the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, largely dismissing an aide’s allegations that he had subjected her to undesirable sexual advances.
The 75-22 vote to approve Gen. John Hyten because the nation’s No. 2 army officer signifies a bit extra opposition than most army nominations, which regularly get near-unanimous Senate help. Ten of the 22 “no” votes got here from feminine senators, together with Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa, a survivor of sexual assault whereas in faculty and the one Republican to vote towards him.
Hyten vigorously denied the aide’s allegations throughout a Senate Armed Services Committee listening to in July. And Pentagon officers have carried out quite a few conferences on Capitol Hill to offer lawmakers extra data on the matter. An Air Force investigation discovered no proof to help the accusations.
In addition to Ernst, others voting “no” Thursday had been two Democratic presidential contenders, Kamala Harris of California and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, in addition to Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, who ended her 2020 Democratic presidential bid final month and who has made army sexual misconduct considered one of her high points within the Senate, and Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, an Iraq War veteran who misplaced her legs when her helicopter was shot down.
Hyten obtained the backing, nonetheless, of Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., who issued a prolonged assertion in his protection through the Senate listening to on his nomination. McSally is a former fighter pilot who has publicly described her personal sexual assault that she says occurred whereas she was within the army.
Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, congratulated Hyten on his affirmation, calling him a “visionary leader with an unparalleled strategic perspective” that can be useful because the army confronts the present nationwide safety challenges. Dunford is retiring subsequent Monday after 4 years on the job, so Hyten will serve primarily with the brand new incoming chairman, Army Gen. Mark Milley.
Hyten has served within the Air Force for almost 4 a long time, and most just lately headed U.S. Strategic Command, which controls America’s nuclear pressure. He additionally led Air Force Space Command and served as mission director at Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado, the army’s iconic protection bunker through the Cold War.
Hyten’s nomination was delayed for a number of months in order that senators may pore over hundreds of pages of the investigation and interview Hyten and Army Col. Kathryn Spletstoser, the officer who made the allegations.
Spletstoser instructed The Associated Press that Hyten subjected her to a collection of undesirable sexual advances by kissing, hugging and rubbing up towards her in 2017 whereas she was considered one of his high aides. She mentioned that she repeatedly pushed him away and instructed him to cease, and that he tried to derail her army profession after she rebuffed him.
The AP typically doesn’t determine victims of alleged sexual assault, however Spletstoser has allowed her identify for use.