Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, a presidential candidate, has endorsed Republican Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s current hold on the nominations of hundreds of military officers to positions in the Department of Defense (DoD) regarding its abortion policy, per comments he made in a radio interview on Wednesday.
Tuberville has placed a “hold” on the nominations of 265 U.S. military officers to general and flag positions in the U.S. armed forces, denying them unanimous consent under Senate rules necessary for their confirmation in an attempt to reverse a DoD policy that funds travel by women servicemembers to states where they may seek abortions. DeSantis endorsed this approach, saying that it was necessary to prevent taxpayer dollars from being spent on abortion, in comments made on The Hugh Hewitt Show. (RELATED: Kirby Says Free Travel For Abortions Are Critical To Recruiting Women Soldiers)
“[N]o, I don’t,” said DeSantis, when asked by Hewitt whether Tuberville should lift his hold, adding that “[T]he miltary’s policy is, is not following U.S. law. They are using tax dollars. They are funding abortion tourism, which is not an appropriate thing for the military to be doing. So I think our Republicans in Congress should just take a stand on this. The DOD should stand down.”
U.S. Marine Corps without a confirmed head for first time in 160 years, and Pentagon says acting head will have to do two jobs.
Tommy Tuberville, who is holding up more than 250 military promotions over Pentagon’s abortion policy, told me: “I’m not going to change my approach” pic.twitter.com/oPVZeEv4XY
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) July 10, 2023
DeSantis also said that, as president, he would rescind the policy. “[D]ay one as commander-in-chief. That policy will go out the window,” he told Hewitt.
Tuberville has faced criticism from both Democrats and Republicans for placing his hold, with President Joe Biden saying that “it’s just bizarre. I don’t remember it happening before,” in comments at a fundraiser in California. Tuberville, however, has criticized Biden for failing to call him to discuss the policy, though he recently spoke with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin about the matter.
“I don’t support putting a hold on military nominations,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell as reported by the AP. “[A]s to why [there’s a hold], you’ll have to ask Sen. Tuberville,” he said.
Tuberville has, so far, refused to lift his hold unless the DoD unilaterally rescinds its policy, which Democrats and the Biden administration have strongly defended. Repealing the policy would be “an ode to bigotry and ignorance,” said Democrats on the House Armed Services Committee in a statement.
The Republican-led House recently included a provision to repeal the policy in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2024, which was passed in a close party-line vote of 219-210.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has said that he would grant a standalone vote on whether to repeal the policy, per Politico, which Tuberville is likely to lose.
“If you win, I hope that we are not looking at 600 vacancies to move people around,” said Hewitt in response to DeSantis’ comments. The DoD has said that should Tuberville’s hold last until the end of 2023, as many as 650 leadership positions may be vacant, per a press briefing by a spokesperson.
In response to a request for comment, a spokesperson for Tuberville referred the Daily Caller News Foundation to a webpage restating endorsements for his hold by many prominent conservatives.
“It is clear that conservatives across America are coalescing behind Coach,” he said.
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