Breitbart | by Kristina Wong | August 25, 2023
DP News Summary Talking Points:
- Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville plans to oppose specific military nominees in the coming weeks as a result of his ongoing standoff with the Biden Department of Defense.
- Tuberville’s decision is rooted in his concerns about nominees’ backgrounds and their promotion of diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives in the military.
- He began blocking confirmation after the Biden Pentagon proposed paying for travel and accommodation for troops and their families to obtain abortions, which Tuberville argued violates the Hyde Amendment.
Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R) told Breitbart News in an exclusive statement on Thursday he plans to oppose specific military nominees in coming weeks, escalating his continuing standoff with the Biden Department of Defense.
Tuberville said in the statement:
“I warned the Pentagon that I would hold their most senior nominees if they broke the law. They did it anyway, and forced my hand. Since then, Chuck Schumer and the Biden Administration have refused any serious negotiations, and so this situation has dragged on.
This has given me more time to look more closely into the background of some of these nominees, and I have deep concerns about some of them. I will continue this process of oversight and I will announce my opposition to specific nominees in the weeks ahead.”
Tuberville began blocking confirmation after the Biden Pentagon said in February it would pay for the travel and accommodation for troops and their families to get abortions if they were based in a state where they could not get one. He and other Senate Republicans argue the policy violates the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funds from paying for abortions except in the cases of rape, incest, or if the mother’s life is at risk.
Currently, there are more than 300 general officers nominated by the Biden administration whose promotions are awaiting confirmation. While Tuberville’s hold prevents the unanimous consent of the promotions all at once, the Senate can still confirm them individually, but the Biden administration and Senate Democrats have refused to go down that route and set a precedent that would burn up time on the Senate floor they would rather spend on other priorities.
However, now, Tuberville and conservative groups are looking into the individual backgrounds of the nominees themselves, and are ready to oppose them based on their promotion of diversity, equity, and inclusion and other woke initiatives in the military.
It is not clear yet exactly who Tuberville may oppose, but they could include officers at the very top of the military.
Two leaders whose promotions are awaiting confirmation by the Senate are Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles “CQ” Brown and Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Lisa Franchetti, who President Joe Biden have nominated for the positions of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Chief of Naval Operations respectively.
In recent weeks, the Center for Security Policy, a conservative non-profit focused on national security, has voiced opposition to Senate confirmation of Brown.
“Your U.S. Senators will shortly be asked whether to confirm General Brown as America’s top military officer,” the group’s founder and president Frank Gaffney posted recently on X. “The answer must be ‘No’ if we are to be defended in these increasingly fraught times.”
In the wake of the death of George Floyd and subsequent riots, Brown, who was at the time nominated as Air Force chief of staff, filmed an emotional and personal video, saying:
As the commander of Pacific Air Forces, a senior leader in our Air Force, and an African American, many of you may be wondering what I’m thinking about the current events surrounding the tragic death of George Floyd. I’m thinking about how full I am with emotion not just for George Floyd, but the many African Americans that have suffered the same fate as George Floyd. I’m thinking about a history of racial issues and my own experiences that didn’t always sing of liberty and equality.
In addition, after the January 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol, he signed a memo condemning it as “a direct assault on the U.S. Congress, the Capitol building, and our Constitutional process.”
“We witnessed actions inside the Capitol building that were inconsistent with the rule of law. The rights of freedom of speech and assembly do not give anyone the right to resort to violence, sedition and insurrection,” the memo said.
Brown also signed an August 2022 memo that called for the Air Force to set goals for officer applicant pools according to percentages of race and gender. The memo said: “Diversity and inclusion are an essential part of our society and key to the success of any organization. As such, it is imperative that the composition of our Military Services better reflect our Nation’s highly talented, diverse, and eligible population.
During Brown’s tenure, Air Force Academy cadets were encouraged not to use terms implying gender, to include “mom” and “dad.”
One group, American Accountability Foundation, has compiled videos of Brown discussing race:
Critics of Brown also note safety incidents occurring under Brown’s watch. The B-2 bomber fleet was grounded from December 2022 to May 2023, after two serious safety incidents within 15 months. In addition, the readiness of F-35A Joint Strike Fighters dropped in 2022.
Citizens for Renewing America, another conservative group opposing Brown’s nomination, said in a statement on its website:
Mission readiness capability metrics remain near all-time lows under General Brown’s leadership.8 His efforts to “diversify the cockpit” have failed repeatedly.9 On General Brown’s watch, the readiness of the F-35 program remains below 60 percent, and the B-2 bomber fleet was grounded for nearly six months –a damning indictment of either his inability or unwillingness to maintain America’s air superiority.10
Franchetti’s nomination is also coming under scrutiny. Biden nominated her to become the Navy’s top military leader over Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s choice of Navy Adm. Samuel Paparo, the current U.S. Pacific Fleet Commander, according to Politico.
Franchetti appeared via video at the 2023 Naval Surfaces Forces Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Summit, which aimed to “develop awareness on bias, mentoring, and psychological safety,” and “identify blind spots in outreach (accessions) and equity/inclusion (retention) across the Surface Enterprise.”
Navy Capt. (Ret.) Brent Ramsey has written on Franchetti’s background as a journalism graduate of Northwestern University NROTC. “A non-STEM degree which itself is unusual, as the Navy strongly favors STEM degrees for officers,” Ramsey wrote. In contrast, he wrote, her predecessor former Vice Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William Lescher had multiple commands in combat zones, was a test pilot, had multiple advanced degrees in naval technical fields and his commands won multiple combat zone merit awards.
The Biden administration has ramped up pressure on Tuberville, promoting news reports that allege his hold is causing harm to national security.
Deputy Press Secretary Sabrina Singh told Breitbart News in a statement on Thursday:
Today over a dozen of our general and flag officers were personally attacked online. From combat pilots, to commanders of naval forces, to those with multiple tours in Afghanistan and Iraq, these officers have served on the front lines defending our nation and protecting American freedom and liberties. These public servants took an oath to defend the Constitution and risk their lives, and they are an intricate part of what makes the United States military the most lethal fighting force in the history of the world. They deserve better than to be personally attacked and should be promptly confirmed. The ongoing failure to confirm our qualified senior uniformed leaders undermines our nation’s military readiness, threatens the retention of some of our very best officers, and disrupts the lives of our military families who give so much to this country. These holds and attacks must end.