Maj General Loses Promotion Over Calling Congressional Staffer “Sweetheart”

 In Military, opinion

When a piece of news seems completely ludicrous, there is usually something else going on. Maj General Ryan Gonsalves was up for promotion to Lt General in July. But the US Army pulled his nomination due to an investigation into him calling a Congressional staff member “Sweetheart.”

The military has strict rules about treating people with respect. That part we understand.

“Following the completion of the Inspector General’s investigation of Major General Ryan Gonsalves, appropriate administrative action was taken. He is currently serving as the Special Assistant to the Commanding General, III Corps, at Fort Carson, Colorado.” Army spokeswoman April Cunningham

Maj Gen Gonsalves was, until this investigation, commander of the Army’s 4th Infantry Division. And apparently was doing a great job until revelation of the remark.

Why did he make the remark? Who was he talking to? Why did the person feel it was “condescending?” Let’s give that a look:

The Army Times reported,

The incident happened during an October 2016 meeting at Fort Carson with staffers from the office of Rep. Jim Langevin, D-Rhode Island.

The report substantiated that Gonsalves had referred to a female staffer as “sweetheart.”

It also detailed allegations that he had made comments about her age and urged her to take detailed notes to bring back to her boss, “since she was a Democrat and did not believe in funding the military.”

Multiple members of Langevin’s staff described the general’s behavior as sexist and inappropriate, while others — whose names and positions were redacted, Stars and Stripes reported — defended him as professional.

At one point during the meeting, Stars and Stripes reported, the female staffer passed a note to a colleague that read: “Did this guy really just call me sweetheart?”

The female staffer, who told her boss about the meeting but declined to file a complaint at the time, took to her Facebook page to denounce the Army as making a “bad decision” when Stars and Stripes reported in July that Gonsalves was on the short list to command U.S. Army Europe.

An anonymous IG complaint came in soon after.

“Although MG Gonsalves testified that he did not refer to (the female staffer) as ‘sweetheart’ during the meeting, the evidence did not support his recollection,” according to the IG report.

The names of those who defended the General as “professional” were redacted from the IG report. Convenient.

So let’s stop right there. We have a young female Congressional staffer, who is a Democrat, becoming hypersensitive over a Major General’s off handed remark.  The note she passed to her buddy gives her attitude away: “Did THIS GUY just call me Sweetheart?” THIS GUY. Let that sink in.

She did not file a complaint at the time, she posted her gripe on Facebook and someone “anonymously” filed the complaint later. She was willing to allow the upward mobility of his career to be destroyed over THAT.

Speaking as a woman who over the years has been called lots of things, it’s pretty easy to diffuse someone if you think they are being condescending. I had an FBI agent keep calling me “little girl” (when I was 19) in Moot Court class. I started teasing him back and within a couple of days he stopped and started referring to me by my name. Eventually I earned his respect. Had she even tried to do that instead of holding a grudge, this would have ended differently.



Featured photo: Major General Ryan Gonsalves by Monica King, US Army

Showing 2 comments
  • Dennis Daugherty

    She was just as disrespectful by not addressing him properly either. So what happened to her. My guess is “Nothing”.

    • Faye Higbee

      You’re right. Nothing happened to her. Just destruction of a man’s future. She’ll go on, thinkng she has the “high ground.”

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