The Senate on Tuesday unanimously confirmed General Charles Brown Jr as chief of staff of the US Air Force, making him the first Black officer to lead one of the nation’s military services.
Vice President Mike Pence took the unusual step of presiding over the vote, something he usually does to break ties. But Brown’s confirmation, 98-0, was not close. Pence called the moment “historic”.
The vote came as the Trump administration and the mostly white Senate Republican conference grapple with the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis.
Protests have convulsed the nation alongside the coronavirus pandemic, with racial discrimination being the common thread between them. The vote in Washington, DC overlapped with Floyd’s funeral in Houston.