How GOP Sen. Tommy Tuberville is 'harming America’s national security': Defense Secretary Austin

How GOP Sen. Tommy Tuberville is 'harming America’s national security': Defense Secretary Austin

In March, Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Alabama) voiced his displeasure with the U.S. military's abortion policies by saying that he would require military promotions to be approved individually rather than in batches. Tuberville's critics have accused him of jeopardizing national security in order to play culture warrior, and one of those critics is Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III.

The anti-abortion Tuberville, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, opposes a policy that has been approved by Gen. Austin and gives women in the military three weeks of paid time off as well as reimbursement for travel expenses if they travel out of state for an abortion.

In a letter to liberal Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) in early May, Austin warned that Tuberville's grandstanding "harms America's national security and hinders the Pentagon's normal operations.”

READ MORE: GOP’s Tommy Tuberville singlehandedly blocks military promotions to protest abortion

Austin, according to the Washington Post, told Warren, "The United States military relies on the deep experience and strategic expertise of our senior military leaders. The longer that this hold persists, the greater the risk the U.S. military runs in every theater, every domain, and every service."

President Joe Biden's defense secretary also wrote, "Without these leaders in place, the U.S. military will incur an unnecessary and unprecedented degree of risk at a moment when our adversaries may seek to test our resolve. The failure to confirm leaders in key roles transfers strategic risk down the chain of command and forces our units to operate with less experienced decision-makers in charge. By destabilizing the senior military promotion and rotation process, we put our short- and long-term readiness at significant risk."

Tuberville, however, defended his actions during an interview with Alabama's WBHM-FM, published in Q&A form on May 8.

The Alabama senator told the station, "We've had abortions for years in the military. We have a law in this country called the Hyde Amendment that says taxpayer money will not be used for abortions, because some people believe in it, some people don't. Again, this is a change in the policy from the White House."

READ MORE: 'It's very disruptive': Democrats rip Tommy Tuberville for playing political games with the military

During the interview, Tuberville was also critical of a Biden Administration policy designed to keep white nationalists out of the military. Tuberville criticized the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol Building but defended the "Stop the Steal" protesters who didn't break into the Capitol.

Tuberville told WBHM, "Well, they call them that (white nationalists). I call them Americans. What happened after January the 6th — and I was here on January the 6th — we were attacked on the Senate floor…. There was a lot of people. There were probably a hundred of them that came in, broke windows and broke doors that should have been locked up. That's not how we do it in America. But there were hundreds of thousands that didn't come in, outside, that were true Americans that believe in this country."

READ MORE: 'This is not a theocracy': Joe Manchin shredded for supporting bill ending VA abortions for rape victims

Read the Washington Post's full report at this link (subscription required) and WBHM's Tommy Tuberville interview at this link.

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