First female Army secretary approved by Senate for second time after head-scratching reversal

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The Senate approved the confirmation of Christine Wormuth as Army secretary by unanimous consent Thursday – after a strange reversal of an earlier confirmation Wednesday.

The first unanimous consent approval came Wednesday, but then Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., asked to reverse that decision. He didn’t immediately elaborate on the move.

“As in executive session, I ask unanimous consent that the Senate vitiate the previous action on Executive Calendar 135,” Schumer said on the Senate floor. 

The Democrat deleted a tweet he had posted, hailing Wormuth’s confirmation, Defense News reported.

After the Senate convened at 10 a.m. ET Thursday, Wormuth was again confirmed by unanimous consent, meaning she was approved without a senator objecting, avoiding a formal roll call vote.

Christine Elizabeth Wormuth speaks during a Senate Armed Services Committee nomination hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, May 13, 2021. (Associated Press)

Last month, President Biden nominated Wormuth, who is the first woman to serve as secretary of the Army. 

Forbes reporter Andrew Solender tweeted that Schumer received unanimous consent to “vitiate,” or rescind, the confirmation.

Just hours earlier, Wormuth called the confirmation an honor.

“I am so honored to be confirmed as Secretary of the Army! Serving in this role is a tremendous privilege and responsibility!” she wrote on Twitter. 

Roll Call reporter Andrew Clevenger tweeted that the move “looks more like a procedural hiccup than a threat to her historic confirmation.”

Wormuth led Biden’s transition team at the Pentagon. She previously served as the undersecretary of defense for policy and the senior director for defense policy at the National Security Council during the Obama administration. Her most recent role was as director of the International Security and Defense Policy Center at the RAND Corp., a federally funded think tank.

Former Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy, who left the job in January, gave Wormuth a strong endorsement this month, saying she had “the temperament, strategic thinking, and relationships that will enable the Army to be successful in the next decade.”

The Senate Armed Services Committee had advanced her nomination Tuesday. 

Wormuth grew up in College Station, Texas, and graduated from Williams College in Massachusetts, according to the White House. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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