‘Accusation Of Treason’: GOP Sen. Mike Lee Torches Secretary Of The Navy For Attacking Tommy Tuberville

Republican Utah Sen. Mike Lee excoriated the Navy’s civilian leader on Thursday for publicly saying that Republican Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s hold on military promotions was “tantamount” to “treason.”

Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro urged Tuberville to relent his hold on military nominations over the Pentagon’s abortion policy, arguing America’s military readiness and reputation has eroded during an unusual public interview alongside the secretaries of the Air Force and Army, which aired on CNN Tuesday. Tuberville is protesting a Pentagon policy he believes is inconsistent with the spirit, if not the letter, of the law, but “for that he was accused by the secretary of the United States Navy of aiding and abetting communists,” Lee said in a floor speech.

“These are not fighting words, these words are tantamount to an accusation of treason,” Lee said, referring to Del Toro’s remarks. “These are not appropriate. These are way over the line.” (RELATED: Armed Services Secretaries Call On Tuberville To Lift ‘Unfair’ And ‘Dangerous’ Holds In WaPo Opinion)

On Tuesday, Del Toro told CNN, “Born in a communist country, I would never have imagined that one of our own senators would be aiding and abetting communist and other autocratic regimes around the world.” Del Toro was born in Cuba.

“This is having a real negative impact and will continue to have an impact on our combat readiness,” Del Toro said.

Tuberville began refusing to give his consent for bloc military promotions in March to protest against the Pentagon’s then-new policy of funding out-of-state travel and authorizing official leave time for service members seeking abortions. The decades-old Hyde Amendment prohibits the federal government from covering abortions except in rare cases.

“We’re the only branch that gets to make the law,” Lee said.

Secretary of the Navy on Tuberville: I would have never imagined that one our own senators would be aiding and abetting communist and other autocratic regimes around the world. This is having a real negative impact. pic.twitter.com/S8CHAoHY4d

— Acyn (@Acyn) September 5, 2023

Tuberville’s hold affects nearly 300 military nominations, of which 86 are in the Navy, the Pentagon said Wednesday. Of the total, 22 pertain to positions within Indo-Pacific Command’s area of responsibility.

In theory, the Senate could vote on each nominee one-by-one and bypass the requirement for unanimous consent for bloc promotions, a process that would consume hours for each vote. When asked if the Senate would vote on the nominee for Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York said it was the Republicans’ problem and “we’re not going to shift the burden to Democrats.”

The Pentagon referred the Daily Caller News Foundation to the Navy when asked for comment. The Navy did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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