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Military service secretaries: Tuberville’s blockade is hurting national security

Even as pressure mounts against Tuberville, the senator has stated he is prepared to continue his current strategy.

Sen. Tommy Tuberville
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Three military service secretaries publicly condemned U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Alabama, for holding up military nominations.

On Monday, Carlos Del Toro, Christine Wormuth, and Frank Kendall released an op-ed in the Washington Post calling on Tuberville to end his blockade on military promotions of senior officials. Del Toro is secretary of the Navy, Wormuth is secretary of the Army and Kendall is secretary of the Air Force. 

In the op-ed, the secretaries argue that Tuberville’s hold is unfairly hindering military members and their families while also putting “our national security at risk.” The three civilian leaders also criticized Tuberville’s reasoning for his blockade as being flawed and asserted that the senator has other legislative tools he could use to make a point that does not harm the military. 

“Senators have many legislative and oversight tools to show their opposition to a specific policy,” wrote the three secretaries. “They are free to introduce legislation, gather support for that legislation and pass it. But placing a blanket hold on all general and flag officer nominees, who as apolitical officials have traditionally been exempt from the hold process, is unfair to these military leaders and their families. And it is putting our national security at risk.”

Tuberville began his hold six months ago in March in response to a Department of Defense (DoD) policy that allows the department to pay for the travel expenses of servicemembers seeking to obtain reproductive health care if they are stationed in a state that restricts abortion access. Since the blockade started Tuberville has now upheld over 300 military nominations and forced three different military services to be without a confirmed leader for the first time in history. 

On Tuesday, the three civilian leaders went on CNN’s “The Lead” with Jake Tapper and continued their criticisms of Tuberville from their op-ed. During the interview, Del Toro said that Tuberville was “aiding and abetting communists.” Kendall and Wormuth also reiterated the effects the hold is having on individual service members as well as their families. 

Following the interview Tuesday, Tuberville told CNN that he was “disappointed a secretary would say that about a senator” referencing specifically Del Toro’s comments. Wednesday Tuberville posted a video on “X” responding to the comments again by defending his hold saying the Senate could bring nominations to the floor but the leadership refuses to. Tuberville also said the Del Toro, Kendall and Wormuth should have talked to him instead of letting publicly commenting in the newspaper. 

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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer previously stated the process of conducting military nominations on the Senate floor would be too time-consuming. 

 

In the video, Tuberville states that he is not holding up any military nominations from being approved and national security is not being harmed. Tuberville said that the comments from the secretaries are propaganda being pushed by Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and President Joe Biden.

“It just goes to show you this is all propaganda that’s being carried on by the Secretary of Defense and the President of the United States saying y’all got to start putting pressure on this senator,” Tuberville said. “They don’t know what pressure is.” 

Although Republicans have claimed to be the pro-military party, many other conservative lawmakers have come to Tuberville’s defense and criticized the “woke policy” by the DoD. However, instead of just attacking a specific “woke” policy there appears to be a new strategy to claim that “wokeness” is spreading among the ranks of the military.

On Wednesday Tuberville went on the Ingraham Angle and said the military was “woke” and was resulting in the military going “downhill.” The senator cited people reading poems as a sign of the “wokeness” exhibited by the military.  

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“Right now we are so woke in the military we’re losing recruits right and left,” said Tuberville. “Secretary Del Toro over the Navy he needs to get to building ships, he needs to get to recruiting and he needs to get wokeness out of our Navy. We’ve got people doing poems on aircraft carriers over the loud speaker. It is absolutely insane the direction we’re headed in our military and we’re headed downhill not uphill.” 

Even as pressure mounts against Tuberville, the senator has stated he is prepared to continue his current strategy of upholding nominations.

Patrick Darrington is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can reach him at [email protected].

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