Now Democrats are desperately claiming to be the new pro-defense party as the move threatens to leave the woke military in disarray.
On Monday, after blocking the Senate Armed Services Committee from approving Gen. Eric Smith as commandant of the Marine Corps by unanimous consent, with Smith’s predecessor due to retire the next day, Tuberville’s office argued in a press release that it would do nothing to impact actual miliary operations.
“This has minimal effect on his ability to lead,” Tuberville noted.
“There may be a delay to his planning guidance,” he continued. “And he can’t yet move into the Commandant’s residence. But there is little doubt about General Smith’s ability to lead effectively—even now.”
However, leftist were eager to use the issue to press their own talking points.
Hey, Mitch McConnell, if you are serious about protecting America’s national security, how about announcing that Republicans will not protect Tommy Tuberville on the floor if he is not there when Democrats ask unanimous consent to bring up military promotions? https://t.co/B09guvQVpY
— Norman Ornstein (@NormOrnstein) July 9, 2023
Tuberville’s protest stems from the military’s radical funding of abortion, in violation of the Supreme Court’s ruling in last year’s Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health.
Tuberville then informed the DoD that he would place a hold on all of its nominees if it enacted its illegal policy.
Although it does not block the Biden appointees altogether, the move effectively forces a floor vote on the nominees rather than allowing them to be approved at the committee level.
“Senator Tuberville’s hold forces the Senate to consider and vote on the nominations by regular order instead of approving them in batches by unanimous consent,” said the press release. “The nominations can still be approved by the Senate, but the Majority Leader must make additional time for them to be considered on the floor.”
“Either side could make a move, and right now neither side seems to think that these nominations are important enough to override the position that they find themselves in,” said Sen. Mike Rounds, R-S.D., who, along with Tuberville, is also a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. “So we’re at a stalemate.”
Democrats, however, were attempting to take advantage of the stalemate by proclaiming themselves the pro-military party, as failed candidate Amy McGrath explained on MSNBC.
“So you know, the Republicans are silent,” she said, after asserting the Marine Corps had no leader. “The Republican Party is no longer the party of national security.”
.@AmyMcGrathKY on #DeadlineWH talking about the silence of Senate Republicans on Tommy Tuberville's blockade of military promotions "So you know, the Republicans are silent. The Democrats need to get stronger. The Republican Party is no longer the party of national security." pic.twitter.com/R8aSuvwYp6
— Sarah Reese Jones (@PoliticusSarah) July 10, 2023
Meanwhile, Tuberville made clear that candidates for appointment were leading under the role of an acting official—much as they did during the Trump administration, when Democrats refused to vote on the former president’s nominees for several key positions.
“I believe that the Marine Corps is in good hands right now,” Tuberville said, making clear his removal of consent was about the DoD’s illegal policies, and not the appointee.
He also clarified that the Democrats could end the impasse any time if committee chairman Jack Reed, D-R.I., were to allow the committee to close the legislative loopholes being used by the military to circumvent federal abortion law.
“If Chairman Reed and the Democrats are so concerned, then let’s vote.”
Headline USA’s Ben Sellers contributed to this report.