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Tuberville’s military hold causing GOP division, more criticism from military personnel

Even with criticism from acting military service members, the senator has drawn some allies and is holding steadfast to his strategy.

Sen. Tommy Tuberville
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U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Alabama, is causing division inside the Republican party and more criticism from military personnel as he continues his blockade of military nominations in protest of the Department of Defense’s abortion policy.

According to Politico, Tuberville’s hold has upset Republican congress members, particularly Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, a former Navy SEAL Officer. Crenshaw texted his allies that he is “at a point where I’m going to tear apart (if asked) coach/Senator/non-veteran Tuberville for personally attacking service members who have spent almost 30 years serving our country.”

Crenshaw also said that Tuberville’s actions are having “worsening consequences.” Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, said that Tuberville is “paralyzing the Department of Defense,” and creating a “national security issue.”

“The idea that one man in the Senate can hold this up for months — I understand maybe promotions, but nominations? — is paralyzing the Department of Defense,” McCaul said. “I think that is a national security problem and a national security issue.”

There have also been reports of other GOP senators being uneasy with Tuberville’s blockade but have not taken an outright stance criticizing the former coach. GOP Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has also voiced his resistance to Tuberville’s strategy but he has not pressured Tuberville to forego his hold. 

Several Republican presidential candidates have weighed in to voice their support or condemnation of Tuberville’s actions.

Nikki Haley has criticized Tuberville’s hold because “we don’t need to be using military families as political pawns.” Mike Pence and Ron DeSantis however, have both voiced their support for Tuberville’s hold. Former President Donald Trump has cultivated an interesting allyship with Tuberville but has not stated whether he agrees or disagrees with Tuberville’s blockade, although commending the senator for having the “courage to at least speak up for his convictions.”

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Tuberville has continued the hold since March and during that time span has held up over 300 nominations of military members. Tuberville asserts that his tactic has no effect on military readiness.

Recently, however, more military personnel members have begun publicly stating the consequences they say Tuberville’s holds are having on military operations, service members and their families.

Earlier this month the secretaries for the Army, Navy and Air Force wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post and went on CNN discussing how Tuberville’s hold was harming the military and posed a “national security risk.”

In response to their criticisms, Tuberville stated it was all propaganda being pushed by Biden and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. 

“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.

Admiral Lisa Franchetti said it would take “years to recover” from Tuberville’a blockade during her confirmation hearing with the Senate Armed Services Committee last Thursday. Franchetti is in line to officially become the Navy’s top officer after being nominated by President Joe Biden.

“Just at the three-star level, it would take about three to four months just to move all the people around,” Franchetti said. “But it will take years to recover … from the promotion delays that we would see.”

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Army Staff Sgt. Zej Moczydlowski wrote a scathing piece in the Military Times last Wednesday arguing that Tuberville’s hold was harming both junior troops and senior leaders and calling out the senator’s hypocrisy on several issues.

“On his website, Tuberville claims that his father instilled in him the value of patriotism,” Moczydlowski wrote. “He purports to be an ally to service members and claims to support veterans. However, he also appears willing to trade service member health and safety, as well as national security, for a chance to grandstand and curry favor with conservative voters who would ban transgender service members and strip women in service from being able to travel for reproductive care.”

According to an AP News report, several military members, including the soon-to-be highest-ranking military leader, expressed concerns over Tuberville’s hold. This leader, Navy Admiral Christopher Grady, stated that Tuberville was effectively harming military personnel families like their ability to plan or enroll their kids in school.  

“There is a cumulative cost to this and we need to be very attuned to that,” Grady said.

Tuberville and his supporters have begun arguing that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer could use time on the Senate floor to nominate individuals. However, Schumer has so far been unwilling to do this, saying it would be too time-consuming.

Tuberville recently criticized the “direction” of the military and how “woke” he believes it is becoming by referencing poems being read on aircraft carriers. 

“We’ve got people doing poems on aircraft carriers over the loudspeaker,” Tuberville said on the Ingraham Angle. “It is absolutely insane the direction we’re headed in our military.”

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The Star-Spangled Banner or national anthem was originally written as a poem by Francis-Scott Key.

Even with acting military service members criticizing Tuberville, the Republican Alabama senator has drawn some allies and is holding steadfast to his strategy to block nominations. 

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

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