The United States Special Operations Command (SOCOM) confirmed it has reinstated its chief of diversity and inclusion, Richard Torres-Estrada, following an investigation into politically charged social media posts he made, including one that compared former President Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler.
SOCOM said in an email statement to Breitbart News on Friday:
Mr. Torres-Estrada has resumed the duties of the Chief of Diversity & Inclusion for United States Special Operations Command after a USSOCOM commander-directed investigation into the circumstances surrounding his hiring concluded and found no violations of law or DoD regulation.
SOCOM reassigned Torres-Estrada in late March after some of his social media posts drew attention for their anti-Trump and anti-Republican leanings. For example, on June 2, 2020, he tweeted a meme that criticized Trump by comparing a photo of him to a doctored photo of Hitler.
He added the caption: “Here I leave this and slowly retire (to continue working from home)…” The meme showed Trump holding up a bible in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church after Black Lives Matter protesters set fire to it, next to a photo of Hitler holding up a book. After that meme caught widespread attention, Facebook marked it “Partly False Information” because the photo of Hitler he posted was doctored.
He also posted on July 8, 2020, another anti-Trump meme with alleged quotes from his former advisers criticizing him. He added the caption, “I just have to post this.”
He also posted a meme critical of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) just this year, on February 21, 2021.
SOCOM said at the time, “We are aware of the allegations and are looking into them now.” Shortly after, the command said, “Mr. Torres-Estrada has been assigned other duties at USSOCOM pending the results of the investigation.”
In addition to the email statement issued on Friday, a SOCOM spokesman told Military Times, “USSOCOM is confident in the hiring process and Mr. Torres-Estrada’s potential to fill this important position.”
When USSOCOM first announced the hiring of its “first-ever Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer,” it touted Torres-Estrada’s experience and qualifications in a post on Instagram:
Mr. Torres-Estrada has nearly two decades worth of experience working diversity and inclusion programs and activities in federal agencies. Mr. Torres-Estrada’s arrival corresponds with the publication of the USSOCOM D&I Strategic Plan, which will guide the enterprise-wide effort to institutionalize and sustain D&I. We look forward to Mr. Torres-Estrada’s contribution in enhancing the capabilities and effectiveness of #SOF through diversity of talent, helping us recruit the best of the best.
The Biden administration has undertaken a push begun in the Obama administration to diversify the ranks across the military, including in special operations.
Commanders of the Navy SEALs and Army Special Forces recently spoke to the Associated Press about the importance of diversity and inclusion in special operations.
Naval Special Warfare Commander Rear Adm. H. Wyman Howard III told the AP that he hopes having a more inclusive force can better protect America.
“I think, in a republic, it’s a foundational point — you have to reflect the people you defend,” he said.
U.S. Army Special Operations Command Commander Lt. Gen. Fran Beaudette said they have loosened some restrictions on who can try out for special forces units and have created teams to reach out to more diverse populations.
Breitbart News exclusively reported on May 25 that civilian and military personnel with Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) are being encouraged by Pentagon bureaucrats to attend a diversity, equity, and inclusion conference.
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