GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley took aim at the Defense Department for embarking on a policy central to Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s (R-Ala.) hold on more than 300 military promotions in the Senate. (Watch Haley’s comments in the video below)
The former South Carolina governor said in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper that the department “should never have done” the policy that reimburses military personnel for traveling to get an abortion in another state.
“I don’t agree with it and I will put an end to it as president. You have to go through Congress,” Haley added on Sunday’s edition of “State of the Union.”
“It is not without reason that we have three branches of government. You can’t put something like that in there and think Congress won’t be upset. So first I will put an end to that and you will deal with it through the proper channels.”
The Republican candidate later went after Tuberville when she declared that using military families as “political pawns” is a “mistake.”
Her comments follow the widely criticized blockade of Tuberville in protest of the Pentagon’s reimbursement policy, a position that the secretaries of the Air Force, Army and Navy criticized in an op-ed in the Washington Post.
Tuberville recently told CNN that he is not “giving in” to his protest, stating that if he were to “really harm” the military, he would not keep the promotions.
Haley suggested Sunday that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) could vote on any military member before Tapper intervened, noting that the Senate typically votes unanimously on a group of people to be promoted.
“Oh, you think the military is political now? You really want the United States Senate to vote on someone to be promoted to major, to lieutenant colonel, to colonel, to [admiral]?” Tapper asked.
“Well, if you’re going to talk about tradition, shouldn’t the Department of Defense do things the right way so we never get into this mess to begin with?” Haley responded.
She continued, “Let’s call it like we see it. The Ministry of Defense has started this. I’m not saying Senator Tuberville is right about 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 make sure that Congress – Republicans and Democrats – have to go through the matter personally. Do you really think they won’t say, “Okay, this is ridiculous, let’s put an end to it?”