Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis backed Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s months-long blockade on military nominations on Thursday, saying that the Pentagon’s abortion policy would “go out the window” if he wins the presidency.
“They are using tax dollars. They’re funding abortion tourism, which is not an appropriate thing for the military to be doing,” DeSantis told radio host Hugh Hewitt, answering “No, I don’t” when asked if he thinks Tuberville should relent. “Day one as commander-in-chief, that policy will go out the window.”
Tuberville has blocked consideration of more than 200 stalled military promotions, demanding that the Pentagon overturn its policy of providing paid leave to service members seeking an abortion. Military leaders and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have blasted Tuberville, saying that the hold harms national security and military readiness.
As lawmakers fight over how to move forward, the GOP presidential candidate wants his party to dig in.
“Our group of Republicans in the Congress should just take a stand on this. The DOD should stand down,” he said. “We have all these other problems in our military. We need more ammunition, we need more recruiting, we need all these other things and yet they’re focusing on abortion tourism.”
On Tuesday, DeSantis voiced his intentions to “rip the woke” out of the military if he becomes president, with promises to cut diversity, equity and inclusion programs, and banning race and gender quotas as well as drag shows on bases. The Biden administration criticized his campaign for the remarks shortly after.
“If Ron DeSantis actually cared about the military, he would call on Sen. Tuberville to stop the unprecedented damage he’s doing to the armed forces and military families every day by blockading of hundreds of military nominations and promotions,” Biden campaign spokesperson Kevin Munoz told ABC News.
DeSantis has solidified himself as a staunch anti-abortion advocate, signing a six-week ban in Florida, but has not committed to supporting a nationwide extension of that ban if he were president.
“I think that in states where you have had the ability to make improvements, and to add pro-life protections, I applaud states that have done that,” DeSantis told Fox News in a pre-recorded interview aired Thursday. “But we have a big diverse country. I acknowledge that … I think you’re going to see some differences.”
Andrew Zhang contributed to this report.