The secretary of the Navy said that GOP Sen. Tommy Tuberville is risking the lives of servicemembers by halting the promotions and confirmations of hundreds of military officers.
On Tuesday, the secretaries of the Navy, Army, and Air Force appeared on CNN to discuss Tuberville’songoing decision to block any military promotions that need congressional approval.
Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro said that the block is having an impact on the military’s “combat readiness.”
“I would argue that Tommy Tuberville, what he’s actually doing, is he’s playing Russian roulette with the very lives of our service members by denying them the opportunity to have the most experienced combat leaders in those positions to lead them in times of peace and in times of combat,” Del Toro said.
As someone born in Cuba, Del Toro added that he never “imagined one of our own senators would actually be aiding and abetting a communist and other autocratic regimes around the world” with his block.
Army Secretary Christine Wormuth said it was “unprecedented” for Tuberville “to be attacking apolitical general officers and flag officers in this way” and that it was “eroding” the foundations of the military.
The three aforementioned military secretaries’ television appearances came a day after the Washington Post published an op-ed of theirs telling Tuberville to “Stop this dangerous hold on senior officers.”
Following their televised appearance, Tuberville said it was “concerning” that the military secretaries had accused him of aiding and abetting China and wished they would have called and spoken to him directly instead. He said he didn’t think military readiness had been affected at all.
Since March, Tuberville, a former college football coach with no military experience, has singlehandedly prevented more than 300 military officers from being promoted, leaving many positions unfilled or with “acting” officers who sometimes are forced to do the role of more than one position.
Tuberville’s blocking the military promotions after the Pentagon released updated guidance for servicemembers in need of abortion services, allowing them to get reimbursed if they needed to travel out-of-state to receive the services after the Supreme Court overturned federal abortion protections in mid-2022.