Retired General Faces Backlash for Social Media Outburst Against First Lady, Questioning His Stance on Women’s Rights

A Retired Three Star General’s reply to a Jill Biden tweet landed him in trouble. Here’s the full story.

No Rules Broken

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An Army investigation has determined that retired Lt. Gen. Gary Volesky, who had served as a Pentagon consultant, did not violate any legal or ethical rules by mocking First Lady Jill Biden’s position on abortion. 

Strayed From Guidelines

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The report, released in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, found that Volesky had, however, strayed from the social media guidelines he helped create during his time overseeing public affairs for the Army, resulting in “negative media attention” for the military. 

Roe v Wade

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The controversy emerged in June 2022 when First Lady Jill Biden expressed her disagreement with the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the constitutional right to abortion.

She tweeted, “For nearly 50 years, women have had the right to make our own decisions about our bodies. Today, that right was stolen.” 

Snappy Reply

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In response, General Volesky, a former top Army spokesman and recipient of the Silver Star for valor in Iraq, posted a tweet from his personal account, saying, “Glad to see you finally know what a woman is.” 

Tweet Deleted

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His remark appeared to align with conservative concerns surrounding the definition of gender in relation to transgender rights.

He later deleted the tweet, and his job was suspended after the media reported on the matter. 

Army Investigation

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The investigation into Volesky’s use of social media was initiated by the Army in response to media reports on the matter.

Despite his retired status, the government had hired him to provide advice to the Army. 

Not Coming Back

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In June 2022, three days before posting the controversial tweet, Volesky informed the Army that he would not renew his consulting contract, set to expire in September, worth $92 per hour. 

Not A Big Deal

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When questioned about the tweet, Volesky acknowledged posting it, stating, “I’ve already resigned, I don’t know why this would be a big deal.” A spokesperson for First Lady Jill Biden declined to comment on the tweets. 

Keep Quiet and Carry On

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Experts in civilian-military relations viewed Volesky’s response as an inappropriate intrusion into politics for a retired senior officer and a paid Pentagon consultant.

“Enlightened Thinking” 

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General Volesky had a prominent career in the Army before retiring in 2020.

He was brought in through a Pentagon program for retired military leaders, aiming to leverage their expertise and experience to contribute “enlightened thinking” to the military. 

A Fistfull of Dollars

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The program had faced scrutiny in the past, following a 2009 investigation that revealed retired officers were earning as much as $330 per hour to advise the military, with many also working for defense firms vying to sell products to the Pentagon. 

The Old Switcheroo

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This prompted intervention by the Pentagon and Congress, leading to a shift in these mentors’ status from contractors to government employees, subject to pay caps and required to submit public financial disclosure forms. 

“Partisan Politics”

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Volesky’s controversial tweet, along with another criticizing former Rep. Liz Cheney, a Republican critic of former President Donald Trump, was eventually removed.

Volesky had also referred to the January 6 select committee investigating the Capitol insurrection as “partisan politics.” 

Account Suspended

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In late June 2022, following the reports on his tweet about First Lady Jill Biden, Army Lt. Gen.

Theodore Martin suspended Volesky “from any current and future duties/assignments.” 

Lenient Rules

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The report also highlighted that federal rules concerning social media use are lenient when it involves personal accounts, as long as the posts do not reference the individual’s government position and are not made while on the job. 

“Do Not Say It Online”

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It further referred to the “Army Social Media Guide” issued in 2013, which was signed by then-Brig. Gen. Volesky. The guide states “When in a position of leadership, conduct online should be professional…by using social media, you are essentially providing a permanent record of what you say…if you would not say it in front of a formation, do not say it online.”

“Personal Capacity”

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The investigation concluded that Volesky’s tweet to First Lady Jill Biden was made in his “personal capacity.” It recommended that training for senior mentors should focus on the potential impact of social media on their organizations. 

No Comment, No Action

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No further action was suggested against Volesky, and it was deemed that the matter was closed. Volesky declined to comment on the matter.

Caps Lock On

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Online the news stirred up a lot of controversy over the perceived limiting of free speech, with one user posting “Good for him. He is merely echoing the vast majority of active duty personnel and veterans.”

Another user questioned “Annoyed the WHOLE ARMY? Or just a couple of political Generals?”

One Star Missing

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However, others criticized the former Brigadier General, with one user commenting “When an American raises their right hand and swears the oath, they give up some of their constitutional rights. Apparently, this 3 star didn’t pick up his 4th for being dumb.”

Another said simply “His enlightened thinking apparently does not include women’s rights.”

The post Retired General Faces Backlash for Social Media Outburst Against First Lady, Questioning His Stance on Women’s Rights first appeared on Pulse of Pride

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / tong patong. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.

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