Former Vice President Mike Pence has expressed his support for Senator Tommy Tuberville’s blockade of military promotions, which has been ongoing for several months. Tuberville, a Republican from Alabama, has been protesting the Pentagon’s policy of reimbursing costs for service members who travel to get an abortion, effectively preventing Senate confirmation votes on hundreds of Pentagon nominations.
Pence made these remarks during a speech in Washington D.C., in which he stated that if elected, he would overturn the Department of Defense’s policy that Tuberville has been arguing against. “Senator Tommy Tuberville is right, and the Pentagon is wrong,” Pence declared.
Pence’s backing of Tuberville comes amid growing bipartisan criticism of the holds. Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, who is also seeking the Republican presidential nomination, agreed that the Pentagon’s policy was wrong but criticized Tuberville for using military families for political gain. Similarly, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Rep. Michael McCaul voiced his concerns over Tuberville’s holds, claiming that the senator’s refusal to back down was causing a national security issue.
The ongoing holds have resulted in the Army, Military, and Navy being without permanent leaders in their top positions. The pressure to resolve the standoff is heightened as the current chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley, is scheduled to retire by the end of the month.
Additionally, hundreds of military family members have signed a petition urging Tuberville to end the holds. Tuberville has stated that he would relent if the Democratic leadership in the Senate holds a vote on the policy. He has also placed blame on the Biden administration, accusing the White House of politicizing the military due to the Pentagon’s abortion policy, which was established after the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.