Last Thursday, during a Senate Committee on Armed Services, U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly, D-Arizona, harshly criticized U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Alabama, for saying he was “more military” than other members who have actually served in the military.
The committee met to hold a confirmation hearing for Derek Chollet to become Undersecretary of Defense. During Tuberville’s comment period, he said “there’s nobody more military up here than me.”
Tuberville has never served in the military.
Kelly took “great exception” to Tuberville’s comments as, unlike Tuberville, he is a military veteran himself. Kelly was in the Navy and was a naval aviator who flew 39 combat missions in the Gulf War specifically Operation Desert Storm.
“As far as I can tell, there’s at least four of us, maybe more, that served in the United States military,” Kelly said. “In some cases, for decades, and at least three combat veterans. So I take great exception to what Senator Tuberville had to say. And I’ve heard him say it before and it just doesn’t make any sense.”
Tuberville responded by saying that because his father died while on active duty he has the right to say whatever he wants. Kelly rebutted stating, “I don’t think that’s the case.”
Kelly has effectively become Tuberville’s biggest outspoken critic over the last several months due to the former coaches blockade against military promotions. Tuberville’s current protest has held up over 300 military promotions since he started it in March. The blockade is due to Tuberville being upset with a Department of Defense policy that offer travel reimbursements to military members who may need to travel to obtain reproductive healthcare or abortions if they are stationed in a state where it is against the law.
Kelly wrote an op-ed last month condemning Tuberville’s hold and how it adversely affected many military families.
“Tuberville is treating our service members and their families as political pawns,” Kelly wrote. “For six months, he’s been blocking the promotion of every general and flag officer in the U.S. military. That’s 301 military positions and counting. Let that sink in.”
Despite the criticisms from Kelly and lately more military personnel, Tuberville remains steadfast that he will continue his hold and has repeatedly stated that the Senate could still confirm nominees. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has stated before that this would be too time-consuming to the and confirm nominations on the Senate floor.
Tuberville has also begun labeling and criticizing the military as “woke” more recently. Just last week Tuberville stated the military was not an “equal opportunity employer” as he explained why he voted against Air Force General Charles “CQ” Brown Jr. to become the Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman. Brown Jr. is Black.
Despite Tuberville’s actions and condemnations of the military he wants everyone to believe he is “more military” than even those who served.