WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden on Friday announced plans for more military nominations as Sen. Tommy Tuberville continued his hold on more than 250 military promotions in protest of the Defense Department's abortion policy.
Biden criticized the Alabama Republican in announcing the four expected nominees, arguing that supporting servicemembers transcends politics.
"What Senator Tuberville is doing is not only wrong—it is dangerous," Biden said in a statement. "In this moment of rapidly evolving security environments and intense competition, he is risking our ability to ensure that the United States Armed Forces remain the greatest fighting force in the history of the world."
"And his Republican colleagues in the Senate know it," Biden added.
The intended nominees are all naval officers: Adm. Lisa Franchetti for chief of Naval Operations; Vice Adm. James Kilby for vice chief of Naval Operations; Adm. Samuel Paparo for commander of Indo-Pacific Command; and Vice Adm. Stephen "Web" Koehler for commander of Pacific Fleet.
If confirmed, Franchetti would be the first woman to serve in that position and on the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the White House said.
"These leadership positions are far too important to delay filling while one Senator prioritizes his domestic political agenda over our military readiness," Biden said.
When reached for comment, a spokesperson for Tuberville said that "what is dangerous is Joe Biden politicizing our military, as he has done from his first day in office," adding that the senator "is going to continue his efforts to get politics out of the military."
The White House has ramped up its criticism of Tuberville's blockade of military nominations and promotions. Earlier this week, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said that "a cascading effect of delayed promotions threatens to brain-drain from the military." Biden earlier this month called Tuberville's tactics "totally irresponsible."
Meanwhile, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has said that the senator's move has created "a readiness issue." Tuberville and Austin spoke earlier this week, but the senator has continued to block nominations in the Senate.