Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis supported Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s (R-Ala.) blocking of more than 300 military promotions before criticizing the Defense Department for its abortion policies on Saturday.
“What the Defense Department is doing is against the law. They are violating the law by funding abortion tourism with taxpayer dollars,” the Republican presidential candidate said at an Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition event.
“And when authorities do that, Congress needs to step up and take action.”
Tuberville has been criticized by secretaries of the Air Force, Army and Navy for withholding their promotions in protest against a Pentagon policy that restricts service members from traveling to another state for an abortion.
Adm. Lisa Franchetti, who was nominated by President Joe Biden to be the Navy’s top officer, said it would “It takes years to recover” from the advertising delays caused by the blockage.
DeSantis on Saturday pointed to a “limited” amount of money in the defense budget before taking aim at Biden over those policies.
“We’re running out of ammunition, our recruitment is now completely in the gutter and you’re funding abortion tourism? “Does this really help protect this country?” said the governor of Florida.
“So we have to defend ourselves against it. I can tell you: If I’m president, these policies will be thrown in the trash can where they belong on day one.
DeSantis reiterated his support for the Tuberville blockade, while his fellow Republican candidate and former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley reiterated at the same event that military personnel should not be used as “political pawns.” The Des Moines Register reported.
Haley said in a CNN interview last week that the Pentagon had “started it” and suggested Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) could vote on any military member.
As CNN’s Jake Tapper noted, the move would be a break from the Senate’s typical process of voting unanimously on a group of people to receive military promotions.
White House national security spokesman John Kirby advocated for the policy in July, arguing that military members go where they are supposed to go. The Hill reported.
“What happens when you get assigned to a state like Alabama that has pretty restrictive abortion laws? And you’re worried about your reproductive care? What are you doing? “Are you going to say no and go out?” he asked.
He continued: “Well, some people might choose to do that, and what does that mean? This means we are losing talent, important talent. It can have an extremely significant impact on our recruitment and retention. It’s just the thing for people to raise their hand and agree to serve in the military.”