Three U.S. military branch leaders admonished Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., over his eight-month stoppage of senior military promotions, Politico reports, with one accusing the conservative senator of “aiding and abetting communists.” Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro levied the critique during an Tuesday appearance on CNN alongside Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall and Army Secretary Christine Wormuth after the trio published an op-ed in The Washington Post calling for an end to the hold.
“For someone who was born in a communist country, I would have never imagined that actually one of our own senators would actually be aiding and abetting communists and other autocratic regimes around the world,” Del Toro, a Cuban-born veteran, said, adding, “This is having a real negative impact and will continue to have a real negative impact on our combat readiness.” According to the Pentagon, Tuberville’s blockade has forced over 300 officers to extend their tours or be sent on temporary assignments as they await its end. It has also halted the promotion of junior officers, placing the status of more military members on hold and their families in a bind.
“Our potential adversaries are paying attention,” Kendall told host Jake Tapper. “It is affecting how they view the United States and our military capabilities and support for the military. This needs to stop.” Wormuth added, “It is just unprecedented to be attacking apolitical general officers and flag officers in this way. It is taking our apolitical military institution. That’s a core principle of our constitutional democracy and eroding its foundation.”
Despite facing critique from other Republicans, Tuberville has vowed to continue the blockade until the Pentagon reneges its policy reimbursing service members who travel to another state to receive abortion and other reproductive care. “The more Democrats attack Coach, the more he digs in,” Tuberville told the Military Times in response to criticism from Rhode Island Sen. Jack Reed, R.I.