WASHINGTON – Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley criticized Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s R-Ala., months-long blockade on military promotions over a Pentagon abortion policy, calling her fellow Republican’s protest a “mistake” and accusing him of harming military families.
“We don’t need to be using military families as political pawns. That’s a mistake. The military members and families, they sacrifice enough, they don’t need to be a pawn in Congress,” Haley, a military spouse herself, said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Tuberville has single-handedly put on pause over 300 military nominations and promotions in protest of a Pentagon abortion policy that reimburses service members for out-of-state travel costs to receive abortions. Tuberville has argued the policy violates the Hyde amendment, which bars federal funding from being used to pay for most abortions, even though the policy only pays for travel and not the procedure itself.
Haley, a presidential candidate in the 2024 Republican primary race, noted she disagrees with the policy and said the “Department of Defense started this.”
“(The) Department of Defense never should have done this, I disagree with it and I’ll put an end to it as president,” Haley said, arguing that the policy should have gone through Congress before being implemented. “We have three branches of government for a reason. You can’t slip something in there like that and think that Congress is not going to be upset.”
“I’m not saying Sen. Tuberville is right in doing this because I don’t want to use (military families) as pawns,” Haley said.
But, Haley added, the onus is also on Senate Democrats to individually confirm the over 300 military nominations and promotions stuck in limbo, even though the confirmation process, Democrats say, would take up hours of precious floor time.
“If you love our military, if you are so adamant about it, then go and make Congress, Republicans and Democrats, have to go through person by person,” Haley said. “Do you honestly think they won’t say ‘Okay this is ridiculous let’s put an end to it?’ They will.”
“This isn’t about making it convenient for Congress. This is about making sure you’re doing right by members of the military,” Haley added.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Tuberville uses military as ‘pawns’ in abortion protest, Haley says