Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall went after Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) over his blocking of hundreds of military promotions.
“Sen. Tuberville has no experience in the military. It’s his first time in public service and I don’t think he realizes how much of an impact this has and how negative this is for the military,” Kendall told CNN’s Jim Acosta on Saturday.
Kendall’s comments come as the Alabama senator and former football coach continues to hold promotions to protest the Pentagon’s policy of giving service members paid leave and covering travel costs to have an abortion in another able to get.
Kendall, along with Army Secretary Christine Wormuth and Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro, recently wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post in which they referred to acting officials in roles “without the range of legal authorities necessary to make the decisions that will support the U.S. military. edge.”
Tuberville told CNN he is “not giving in” and added that if he thought he was “really harming” the military, he would not keep the promotions.
Kendall, who called the blockade “totally unprecedented,” said Tuberville does not understand what is happening, before pointing out the need for the military to fill recently vacated positions.
“We have people across the country who cannot move to their new organization. It has a major impact on their families, it is very disruptive and very debilitating,” he said.
“It’s basically like throwing a big wrench into the work of the Department of Defense,” he added.
Kendall wasn’t the only harsh critic of Tuberville on Saturday, as retired U.S. Army General Wesley Clark also told Acosta that the senator’s grip is a “national security problem.”
“Not only does it block promotions and assignments and policy changes and preparation for a possible war against China and military aid to Ukraine in the ongoing war, but it has also brought politics into this,” Clark explained.
He continued: “What can be done now? What would normally be done is that any federal program going to Alabama would be stopped and you would make this a private matter, you would go to Senate leadership, you would tell Mitch McConnell if you didn’t. If we tackle this, we’re going to take away your programs in Kentucky. This is hardball.”