Two weeks after Lloyd Austin was sworn in as defense secretary in January 2021, he released a memo to his bureau’s senior leadership.
Within sixty days, the memo ordered, commanding officers and supervisors were to conduct a one day stand-down “to address extremism in the ranks.”
“We will not tolerate,” Austin said, “actions that go against the fundamental principles of the oath we share, including actions associated with extremist or dissident ideologies.”
One of the commander’s fundamental principles, according to an October 2022 memo, is “ensuring access to reproductive care.”
The memo framed itself as a post hoc amicus brief for Dobbs, complete with an appeal to “the complexity and the uncertainty that [servicemembers] now face in accessing reproductive health care, including abortion services.”
Austin’s blank check for servicemember abortion reimbursements put a target on his back for the senior senator from Alabama, Tommy Tuberville.
In December 2022, the former Auburn football coach sent a letter to the secretary, in which he claimed that the proposed policy change would be illegal (federal law restricts Pentagon abortion funds to cases of rape and incest) and promised in an accompanying tweet: “I will hold him accountable.”
Since then, the senator has committed a grave sin: He has actually held his second branch colleague accountable. In February, Tuberville announced he would place a hold on all nominations until the issue is resolved.
While most non-cabinet positions fly by the attention of the public eye, the senator’s hold has also introduced the novel, if not accidental, opportunity for the upper chamber to consider the quality of the candidates. . . . . .
. . . . Wade Miller, executive director of Citizens for Renewing America and a former Marine, told TAC,
“These military officers are…pushing race-based and sex-based promotion, which is a violation of federal law. They should be court-martialed – certainly not promoted.”
Citizens for Renewing America has been one group at the center of maintaining Tuberville’s hold.
Another such group is the American Military Project at the Claremont Institute. Will Thibeau, the project’s director, said, “This is about more than DEI or other cultural issues.”
Thibeau continued, “As the recruiting crisis worsens, and Americans grow increasingly distrustful of military leaders, we have to ask ourselves if the military is an institution reliable enough to defend the nation.”
Retired colonel and frequent TAC contributor Douglas Macgregor expressed support for the senator and contextualized the military’s ultimate objective: “The United States Armed Forces are in the business of being ready to deploy and fight as required in defense of the United States.”
“The focus on DEI,” Macgregor said, “is ultimately antithetical to the interests of military readiness and military power in general.” . . . . . (read more on American Conservative)
. . . . “Woke bureaucratic Secretaries are quick to throw baseless accusations [at Tuberville] simply for fighting for the right to life. They’ve completely deviated from their department missions to focus on social justice nonsense,” Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., wrote on X, formerly Twitter.
Biggs was responding to Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro accusing Tuberville of “aiding and abetting” communists with his holds.
Del Toro’s “remarks are totally inappropriate,” Sen. Ted Budd, R-N.C., wrote. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin “can solve this immediately by rescinding DoD’s abortion travel policy. And nothing is stopping [Schumer] from bringing these officers to the floor today but his own political agenda.”
Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, called Del Toro’s remarks “rich,” arguing Del Toro was,
“aiding & abetting the destruction of our military with woke social engineering in an administration aiding & abetting terrorists & cartels through open borders.”
Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, wrote that “politicians” running the Pentagon could expedite the confirmations of Biden’s nominees by “abandoning their months-long effort to flout federal law, as they have done by using U.S. taxpayer dollars to fund abortion tourism.
“In slandering one of the most courageous men in Washington, Secretary Del Toro has debased himself and the Department of Defense.”
“The Democrats and DoD could call for an individual vote on any of these nominations, but they have chosen not to because they don’t want to discuss the policy. Giving free annual leave — all expenses paid — for an abortion but not for the death of a family member is one of many examples of how the military has been politicized,” Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., told Fox.
Blackburn was joined by Sen. Katie Britt, R-Ala., who told Fox, “Let’s be clear— Senator Schumer is the only Senator with the power to schedule votes, yet he refuses to bring a single military promotion or nomination to the floor. Instead, Senate Democrats are in lock-step defending the Biden Administration’s radical policy to spend hard-earned taxpayer dollars on facilitating elective abortions up to the moment of birth.”
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins also echoed that sentiment, writing that Schumer and his fellow Democrats were “refusing” to hold a vote on any nominations because they were “promoting abortion over the military.”
Floor votes could be held on military nominations; they are choosing not to,” he added.
Tuberville has also received the backing of the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank whose leaders also took to X to defend the senator from the Biden administration’s onslaught.
“The Senate worked from 3 p.m. on Tuesday to 2 p.m. on Thursday. But no time to debate or vote on our highest-ranking military officials! In [Schumer’s] words, they simply can’t be ‘burdened’ with that,” Heritage’s Cody Sargent, a former spokesperson for Tuberville, wrote.
Ryan Walker, the group’s acting executive director and vice president of government relations called Del Toro’s statement “unconscionable,” and argued the secretary “swore an oath to defend the Constitution, the very document that gives [Tuberville] the authority to address grievances.”
He then accused the Biden administration of “prioritizing abortion over defense.”. . . . . (read more)