(RightWing.org) – In October 2022, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin struck back against state efforts to ban abortion by issuing a memorandum directing DOD officials to provide funds for service members to travel to obtain access to the procedure. Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) pushed back on the proposed policy change by sending a letter to Austin, vowing to block all future DOD general flag officer and civilian appointments — a promise he’s kept. In the meantime, President Joe Biden refuses to place an all-important phone call to the senator and resolve their differences.
On June 14, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre blasted Tuberville’s blockade on nominations during her daily press briefing, calling it a “threat to… national security.” She warned that his efforts to hold up nominations imperiled “military readiness by depriving [America’s] armed forces of leadership.” Jean-Pierre also warned that senators shouldn’t “play politics” with military assistance and preparedness.
Yet, despite those serious concerns, neither Biden nor the Pentagon has agreed to meet with the senator and discuss his concerns. Asked about the issue during a July 10 interview, Tuberville told CNN host Kaitlan Collins that all he wanted was to speak to the president on the phone about the Pentagon’s policy change.
At this point, there is little reason to believe the president’s failure to work with Tuberville on the issue has grave implications involving national defense. Seven former Defense Secretaries, including two nominated by former President Donald Trump, recently sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-CA) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) about the situation. They echoed the White House’s concerns. The letter also noted that the current hold on nominations has led to critical vacancies.
For example, the 7th and 5th Fleets don’t have permanent commanders. Those posts are particularly important since they are vital to checking Chinese and Iranian aggression. Other senior positions like the next military representative to NATO and the future Intelligence Director at the US Cyber Command are due to arise soon.
A spokesperson for Tuberville discussed the White House’s inaction with the Daily Caller in an article published on July 12. He said the senator was frustrated that he hadn’t heard from administration officials. The staffer noted that Biden’s team has the time to attack him in the media but isn’t willing to meet and discuss the concerns “or pick up the phone and call.”
Copyright 2023, RightWing.org