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Criticism of Tuberville growing louder

Criticism of Tuberville’s hold on military promotions is coming from all corners.

Sen. Tommy Tuberville
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The criticism of Sen. Tommy Tuberville and his hold on military promotions continues to mount, and is growing more personal. 

On Friday, retired two-star Marine Corps Major General Arnold Punaro called Tuberville a coward over his hold that has stopped at least 270 promotions and left the Marines without a commandant for the first time in more than 100 years. 

Tuberville’s hold is a sort-of one-man protest of a Department of Defense policy that reimburses active duty service members who have to travel to other states to receive healthcare services, including abortions, because they’re not legal in the state where they’re stationed. 

“I have a huge problem with what Sen. Tuberville is doing,” Punaro told Politico. “He’s a coward, in my book. He won’t even bring an amendment to the floor and get it voted on to change the policy.”

On the same day, retired Adm. James Stavridis, in a radio interview with conservative commentator Hugh Hewitt, said Tuberville’s hold is making the military less safe, damaging military families and destabilizing the military. Stavridis called the hold “immensely distracting to national security.” 

He also noted that Tuberville’s actions opens the possibilities of politicizing all military votes in the future, turning routine votes into drawn out political battles over every partisan issue imaginable. 

“What happens when Senator Left Wing says ‘I’m not going to approve anyone until DOD cuts its entire fuel budget down to zero’?” Stavridis asked. “Once we go down that path of allowing a particular senator who feels passionately about a particular issue, and I don’t doubt that [Tuberville] does, wait until the left starts using it and you have dragged our national security dead into the center of whirlpool of domestic controversy.”

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In a Washington Post column highlighting his interview with Stavridis, Hewitt also criticized Tuberville and broached the possibility of the first-term senator finding himself with a primary challenge, or a challenge from a former military officer running on the Democratic ticket. 

“Uncertainty is just paralysis, and paralysis in the military can be deadly,” Hewitt wrote. “On every level, this action by the Alabama senator is morally and strategically wrong, the sort of self-inflicted scar that invites a future Republican primary challenge, or maybe a faceoff against a retired military hero on the Democratic side.”

Josh Moon is an investigative reporter and featured columnist at the Alabama Political Reporter with years of political reporting experience in Alabama. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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