Alabama Senator Tommy Tuberville thinks that the real threat to military readiness is sailors reading poems, not his blockade on hundreds of military promotions.
The Republican senator has blocked hundreds of promotions since March in protest over the Defense Department’s policy of reimbursing travel costs for service members who have to go out of state for an abortion. The department has warned that the blockade, which has left three branches of the military without official leaders, harms U.S. national security. Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro slammed Tuberville on Tuesday for “aiding and abetting Communist and other autocratic regimes” with his misguided protest.
“Secretary Del Toro of 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,” Tuberville hit back Wednesday evening, speaking on Fox News. “We’ve got people doing poems on aircraft carriers over the loudspeaker. It is absolutely insane the direction that we’re headed in our military, and we’re headed downhill, not uphill.”
Tuberville has blocked an unprecedented 301 military promotions over the abortion policy, resulting in the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps being led by “acting” military leaders instead of confirmed ones. The Pentagon says the policy will stay in place, and multiple defense officials, including department Secretary Lloyd Austin and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chair Mark Milley, have warned that Tuberville’s blockade is a threat to military readiness and national security.
The senator, however, continues to falsely insist that his actions do not have a negative impact on the military. He said Tuesday that Del Toro’s comment “makes you feel bad.”
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby had a simple solution. “My best advice to the senator is, if you don’t like being criticized for this outrageous effort to hold up these promotions and advancements, then lift your hold,” he told CNN Tuesday evening.
“If it bothers you that we’re publicly talking about the impacts it’s having—and it is having an impact—then just lift the hold.”