Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley says that while the Biden administration started the political battle over abortions for service members, she does not support Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) holding up hundreds of military promotions in protest of the administration’s policy allowing expense-paid travel and up to three weeks leave for an elective abortion.
Haley’s position on the issue puts her in line with former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who has also called out Tuberville on the campaign trail. Republican presidential candidates who support Tuberville’s actions include Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, former Vice President Mike Pence, and pharmaceutical executive Vivek Ramaswamy. Sen. Tim Scott’s (R-SC) office “would not say whether he supports Tuberville’s blockade,” The Post and Courier reported late last month.
The “hold” on general and flag officer promotions blocks the Democrat-controlled Senate from approving the nominations quickly and in batches through a “unanimous consent” agreement. Tuberville stressed that the Senate could still hold a vote to approve individual nominations, a process he said would be “very easy to do.”
Haley responded to the monthslong holdout when asked about the matter during a Sunday interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.”
“I know you have criticized his decision,” Tapper said. “The military says this is hurting readiness. I know, as a military spouse, you know military spouses are really upset about this.”
“Why is the Republican Party tolerating this?” Haley asked.
Haley responded that she disagreed with the reimbursement policy for travel for abortion and said that she would put an end to it if she becomes president.
“Secondly, we don’t need to be using military families as political pawns,” she said. “That’s a mistake.”
“The military members and families, they sacrifice enough. They don’t need to be a pawn in Congress,” she continued. “But look at the political games that continue to play. Chuck Schumer could still get this done if he went through and listed each member and had Congress vote on each member.”
She later noted that it was the Biden administration that started the entire situation, but “I’m not saying Senator Tuberville is right in doing this, because I don’t want to use them as pawns.”
“But if you love our military, if you are so adamant about it, then go and make Congress, Republicans and Democrats, have to go through person by person,” she added. “Do you honestly think they won’t say, OK, this is ridiculous, let’s put an end to it?”
“They will. But show your true grit by going out there and saying, fine, if you all are going to play the military for the pawns like this, let’s go member by member,” she continued. “Let’s make them pay the price. Let’s make them do their job. Let’s make them suffer so that they know what they’re doing to these military families. This isn’t about making it convenient for Congress. This is about making sure you’re doing right by members of the military. This is making sure you hold the Department of Defense accountable.”
"You think the military is political now? You really want to have the US Senate voting on somebody being promoted?"
— CNN (@CNN) September 10, 2023