White House pounces on Tuberville’s military holdups: ‘Stop playing politics’

The White House on Tuesday pounced on Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s (R-Ala.) hold on hundreds of military promotions, saying that Americans have had enough with him and Senate Republicans playing politics with service members.

“The American people have had enough with the excuses. Senator Tuberville, and all 48 Senate Republicans who are standing by him, owe it to the country to stop playing politics with the lives of those who serve in uniform and their families, and risking our nation’s safety,” White House spokesman Andrew Bates said in a memo.

The memo highlighted that former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R), a presidential hopeful, criticized the hold Tuesday, arguing that “there’s got to be other ways” to protest the Pentagon’s abortion policy.  

It also highlighted a CNN report about hundreds of military families who recently signed a petition for Tuberville to relent, calling his hold “political showmanship.”

The Defense Department’s new abortion policy provides paid leave and travel reimbursement for abortions. Tuberville argues it violates the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funds from being used for abortion.

The White House memo, titled “The Evolving World of Senator Tommy Tuberville,” also points to Tuberville’s past comments about why he is holding up the military promotions since he began his protest in February.

“For nearly six months, Senator Tuberville’s excuses for holding up the confirmation of more than 300 senior military positions have piled up, with each one weaker than the last,” Bates said.

The memo noted that Tuberville said in February that the abortion policy was an “illegal expansion of [Department of Defense] authority,” in April said “the military is top heavy” and last month said that the freeze is not holding up readiness. 

President Biden and other top officials have for weeks been hammering Tuberville about his protest. Last week, the White House called out Tuberville on X , formerly known as Twitter, posting “This you?” and sharing a series of headlines about the issues the holds have caused. 

Tuesday's memo is the latest example of the White House recently becoming punchier going into 2024, increasingly jumping in and bashing the GOP. Earlier Tuesday, it issued a statement accusing Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) of lying in order to cave to the far-right members of the House Republican Conference and their push for an impeachment inquiry into Biden.