Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) shrugged off concerns that his hold on hundreds of military promotions was making it difficult for personnel to do their job after the recent hospitalization of a top officer for the Marine Corps.
Tuberville, whose monthslong blockade is based on a protest of the Pentagon’s policy to reimburse service members’ travel for abortions, took criticism from his GOP colleagues over the hold of 300-plus nominees Wednesday.
Republicans’ response to Tuberville arrived on the same day Politico reported that Gen. Eric Smith — who filled the top two posts at the Marine Corps between July until his confirmation as commandant in September — was hospitalized due to a “medical emergency” Sunday.
A three-star general was tasked with taking over Smith’s role while the assistant commandant position remains empty, according to Politico. The New York Times cited sources that said Smith had an apparent heart attack.
CNN’s Manu Raju questioned Tuberville over whether he’s “making it harder” on military personnel to do their jobs and cited Smith before the Alabama senator pointed toward the “2,000 people who work for him.”
“And somebody said he’s working 18 hours a day. Jack Reed blamed me for his heart attack. Come on, give me a break,” said Tuberville of the Senate Armed Services chair’s comment on the hospitalization.
Tuberville, who hasn’t served in the military and is a former football coach, continued: “This guy’s gonna work 18, 20 hours a day no matter what. That’s what we do. You know, I did that for years because you gotta get the job done. You try to do everything yourself. So we’re not gonna go down that road.”