Report: Army general loses promotion after calling Langevin staffer ‘sweetheart’

AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – A U.S. Army general’s nomination to receive a third star has been pulled after he reportedly referred to one of Congressman Jim Langevin’s staff members as “sweetheart.”

Stars and Stripes, the military newspaper, reported that Maj. Gen. Ryan Gonsalves’ promotion was withdrawn after an inspector general’s report determined he had likely used the term in reference to the unidentified female Langevin employee during an October 2016 meeting.

Stars and Stripes said the report also indicated Gonsalves questioned the employee’s youth and her boss’s commitment to military funding as a Democrat during the meeting. Some of the meeting’s attendees were interviewed and supported the employee’s recollection, while others defended Gonsalves, the newspaper said.

In a statement to Eyewitness News on Tuesday, Langevin declined to confirm or deny the substance of the report.

“Now, more than ever, everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect,” Langevin said. “As it is an ongoing personnel matter, I have no comment on the Army inspector general’s investigation.”

April Cunningham, an Army spokesperson, declined to release the inspector general’s report, but said “appropriate administrative action was taken” regarding Gonsalves after the investigation. She said he is now serving as a special assistant to the commanding general, III Corps, at Fort Carson in Colorado.

“The matter is now closed,” Cunningham said.

Giovanni Feroce, a businessman and Republican who is considering a run for Rhode Island governor in 2018, criticized the reaction on Facebook. “The fact that this staffer is from RI doesn’t surprise me,” he wrote. “We have reached new levels of hysteria and this take down of extremely qualified people must stop.”