Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley said Sunday it was a “mistake” to use military families as “political pawns” in response to Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s (R-Ala.) holds on the confirmations of more than 300 military officers to protest the Pentagon’s new abortion policy.
“We don’t need to be using military families as political pawns,” Haley said in an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “That’s a mistake…the military members and families – they sacrifice enough. They don’t need to be a pawn in Congress. But look at the political games that continue to play.”
The six-month hold on over 300 senior military officers’ promotions has drawn fresh criticism from both sides of the aisle as the Senate returns from a monthlong recess.
The policy Tuberville is protesting allows for paid leave and travel reimbursement for service members seeking an abortion, which Tuberville argues is a violation of the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funds from being used for abortion.
Haley, the former governor of South Carolina, blamed the Department of Justice for adding the reimbursement policy and vowed to put an end to it as president.
“Because you have to do these things through Congress, we have three branches of government for a reason,” Haley said. “You can’t slip something in there like that and think that Congress is not going to be upset.”
Haley, whose husband is in the military, suggested Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) hold a vote on each military member, to which CNN anchor Jake Tapper argued would go against the tradition of the Senate’s unanimous vote of consent for the promotions.
“If you’re going to talk about tradition, shouldn’t the Department of Defense do things the right way so we’re never in this mess to start with?” Haley said. “Let’s, I mean, let’s call it like we see it – Department of Defense started this. I’m not saying Sen. Tuberville is right and doing this because I don’t want to use them as pawns.”
“But 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. Do you honestly think they won’t say ‘okay, this is ridiculous, let’s put an end to it,’? They will,” she continued.
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