As Tommy Tuberville’s singlehanded siege of hundreds of military appointments and promotions proposed by the Biden administration drags on deeper into wartime, the drumbeat of disgust isn’t just MSNBC’s anymore — it’s now coming from inside the Alabama Republican senator’s own party.
And yes, “Morning Joe” was among the first to notice that this is the week that “the dam broke.”
“[Republicans have] been saying privately… that they don’t like it, but doing nothing about it,” MSNBC cohost Willie Geist said on Wednesday’s show. “Last night, senator Tommy Tuberville of Alabama faced backlash from members of his party who challenged his blockade. They attempted to approve 61 military promotions by voice vote for more than four hours. Tuberville rejected each nomination as his colleagues’ frustrations grew.”
That’s where “Morning Joe” cut to the Senate floor speeches of a few key dissenting Republicans, including Joni Ernst of Iowa, South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham and the ever-reliable GOP critic Mitt Romney of Utah.
“We have done the best that we can to honor the request of a fellow senator, that these nominations be brought to the floor and voted on individually,” Ernst said. “And I really respect men of their word. I do not respect men who do not honor their word.”
Ernst did not name Tuberville in that context, but she might as well have. Graham did not offer the same courtesy, however.
“No matter whether you believe it or not, Sen. Tuberville, this is doing great damage to our military. I don’t say that lightly. If this is the norm, who the hell wants to serve in the military when your promotion can be canned based on something you had nothing to do with?”
Romney called it “simply, in my opinion, an abuse of the powers we have as senators,” while Dan Sullivan of Alaska really brought the fire:
“These are the people who are kicking in doors in Fallujah, shooting terrorists in the face! And we have people saying they’re desk jockeys and not warriors? That’s just ridiculous. It’s insulting… A national security suicide mission!”
Geist noted that Sullivan and Ernst both served in the military, and “you see the frustration.”
“We’ve been hearing it privately,” he reitrated. “Sometimes you’ll hear Mitch McConnell say politely, ‘I disagree with what Tuberville is doing, but it’s how the system was set up.’ For some reason, yet, the dam broke.”
Tuberville has maintained his blockade for months, with promotions and appointments numbering in the hundreds being blocked from approval. He says he’ll keep blocking them — something one senator has the power to do in what is normally a bipartisan rubber-stamp process — until Democrats agree to bring the Pentagon’s military abortion policy to a floor vote.
“I guarantee you, every one of those senators got calls from the Pentagon, going, what in the holy hell are you guys doing?” “Morning Joe” cohost Joe Scarborough said. “You’re making them do two, three, four jobs because of this clown from Alabama!”
Watch the entire thing in the video clip above.