MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Former President Donald Trump took the stage with GOP Sen. Tommy Tuberville in his home state of Alabama for a campaign event Friday, as the Pentagon deals with the effects of Tuberville’s months-long hold on military promotions.
Trump has remained silent on the issue, and neither Tuberville nor supporters in attendance seemed concerned about the military confirmation hold at the state party event. It wasn’t mentioned once in Tuberville’s introduction of the former president, nor did it come up in Trump’s 40-minute-plus remarks.
Even some Republican voters at the Alabama GOP Summer Dinner who didn’t agree with the blockade were more focused on party loyalty than Tuberville’s maneuver, which is currently stalling over 300 military promotions. The move has currently left the Army and Marine Corps without confirmed leaders for the first time in American history.
“If he supported President Trump, I support him. And I might disagree with some other legislation he has,” said Brandt Wiggins, a junior at the University of Alabama. “If he’s backing Trump and Trump’s backing him, Trump needs loyalists.”
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin provided guidance for the first time Friday on a Pentagon leadership role reshuffle due to Tuberville’s maneuver, CNN reported.
The Alabama senator’s months-long hold on military nominations is tied to his efforts to get the Pentagon to drop its abortion travel policy, which provides paid leave for female service members to seek reproductive health care services. The campaign is raising concerns about military readiness and potentially putting some military families in limbo about their next steps.
Lawmakers in both parties have pushed back against Tuberville’s methods, but the senator shows little signs of relenting. He has said he won’t drop his holds until a vote on the Pentagon policy comes to the Senate floor.
Although Trump has remained quiet on Tuberville’s military holds, other GOP presidential contenders, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, have recently voiced support for the blockade.
“They are funding abortion tourism, which is not an appropriate thing for the military to be doing,” DeSantis said. “So I think our Republicans in the Congress should just take a stand on this. The [Pentagon] should stand down.”
Trump endorsed Tuberville for Senate in 2020 against his former attorney general, Jeff Sessions. Ever since, the two have shown staunch support for each other.
Trump also on Friday swept all six endorsements from the Alabama Republican congressional delegation.