After Surgeon General Vivek Murthy celebrated Levine’s appointment as “the first female four-star officer to serve in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps” on Tuesday, Congressman Jim Banks criticized the description.
“The title of first female four-star officer gets taken by a man,” Banks, a Navy veteran who served in Afghanistan, said.
In a follow-up tweet, he added, “Calling someone that was born and lived as a man for 54 years the first ‘female’ four-star officer is an insult to every little girl who dreams of breaking glass ceilings one day.”
Though the follow-up post remains online, Twitter removed Bank’s first post calling Levine a man, claiming that it violated its “rules against hateful conduct.”
Banks’ congressional colleague, Marjorie Taylor-Greene, was also censored by Twitter for arguing that “a dude who lived the first 50 years of his life as a man isn’t the first female anything.”
Twitter soon cracked down on the post, claiming it “violated the Twitter Rules about hateful conduct,” and removed the ability for users to like, share, or reply to Taylor-Greene. Unlike Banks’ post, however, the social media network did not remove the congresswoman’s comments entirely, ruling it to be “in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain accessible.”
Prior to being appointed a four-star admiral in the US Public Health Service Commissioned Corps (PHSCC) on Tuesday, Levine was appointed assistant secretary for health in the Joe Biden administration in March. Before that, Levine had served as secretary of the Pennsylvania Health Department.
Levine transitioned from a man into a transgender woman in 2011.