White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby attacked Republican Sen. Tommy Tuberville of Alabama while defending the Pentagon’s policy of paying for travel for servicemembers to have abortions on Tuesday.
Tuberville launched a blanket hold on most senior military promotions in March after the Pentagon began paying for female servicemembers to travel for out-of-state abortions after a number of states placed restrictions on the procedure. “The suggestion is we should just turn our backs on one in five of every person in the United States military, let alone their family members just so we can get these officers confirmed,” Kirby said.
“That’s the suggestion that I think you’re elucidating. That would be an egregious violation of the covenant that we make, the military makes, with the people that sign up and volunteer,” Kirby said.
“Remember this, they’re volunteers. There’s not conscription, there’s no draft. People volunteer for this and when they volunteer for that duty, they have every right to expect that they’re going to get the health care they need, and then let me tell you something else: a healthy force is a ready force. So don’t talk to me about national security being impaired,” Kirby continued. “The one impairing national security is Senator Tuberville, not only because he’s depriving the military of necessary leadership in the field and at sea, but he’s also willing to deprive female members of the military, 20 percent of the force from necessary healthcare.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York filed cloture petitions to force votes on the nominations of Air Force General Charles Q. Brown to be chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Corps General Eric M. Smith to be the Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps and Army General Randy George to be the chief of staff of the U.S. Army Sept. 20, resulting in the officers being confirmed by the Senate.
“I could tell you how I’d like it to end I’d like to see- and I think I speak, certainly for everybody demonstration for Mr. Tuberville to lift his ridiculous hold,” Kirby said.
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