Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story mischaracterized GOP presidential hopeful Nikki Haley’s comments on Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s (R-Ala.) hold on military promotions.
Republican presidential candidate and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley criticized Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s (R-Ala.) months-long hold on hundreds of military promotions on Tuesday, arguing that “there’s got to be other ways” to protest the Pentagon’s abortion policy.
“This just goes to show how messed up our country is,” Haley said on “The Hugh Hewitt Show.” “I mean, you look at the fact that the Department of Defense shouldn’t be doing this in the first place. But there’s got to be other ways to go about doing this.”
“I appreciate what Tuberville’s trying to do,” she added. “I do. Like it’s totally wrong that the Department of Defense is doing this. But have we gotten so low that this is how we have to go about stopping it?”
Tuberville has been blocking Pentagon nominees since March over the Defense Department’s new policy to reimburse expenses for service members who need to travel to obtain an abortion. The policy was put in place in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, as various states have enacted restrictions on abortion.
There are now two military services without a confirmed leader, after the head of the Marine Corps retired last month and the head of the Army retired Friday without replacements.
Haley, whose husband was deployed to Africa with the South Carolina Army National Guard in June, said Tuesday that it was wrong to place the additional stress on service members.
“For my husband who’s serving overseas, and for all those military men and women, the idea that this is what they’re looking back and seeing, and this is what they are dealing with on top of the stresses of keeping themselves safe and being away from their families, it’s wrong,” she said.
The former South Carolina governor added that such moves are hurting recruitment efforts, because military families “don’t feel like anybody’s got the military’s back.”
“They look at the fact that 33,000 veterans are homeless,” she said. “They look at the fact that they’re, you know, dangling these promotions out there and using them as fodder. I mean, they’re looking at the fact that people don’t see these, you know, men and women who serve as heroes anymore.”
Her comments stand in contrast to those of her 2024 GOP rival, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who said last month that he supported Tuberville’s blockade and accused the Pentagon of picking a fight with the Alabama senator by “violating the law,” Politico reported.
—Updated at 12:35 p.m.