Backers of a small group of moderate Republicans in the Senate have seized on a leaked email from Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s, R-AL, communications director to attack the conservative senator’s stand against the Pentagon’s policy of promoting abortions in the military.

Tuberville has for months used his position on the Senate Armed Services Committee to put a hold on President Joe Biden’s military nominees until the administration backs down and rescinds the abortion policy. The nominees have come under increased scrutiny amid the holds, as many of them have been discovered to be proponents of highly controversial far-left positions.

“The email, written by Tuberville’s communications director Steven Stafford from his Senate email address, made clear that the Alabama Republican’s staff is worried that at least nine Republicans might join with Democrats to pass a resolution that would allow the Senate to bypass Tuberville’s holds,” POLITICO reported Thursday.

“In my opinion it is imperative for all of the groups to make clear, in some words, that any Republican who votes for this will be primaried,” Stafford wrote in the email to friends at three pro-life organizations. “In my view, if enough mushy middle Republicans come out in opposition, then this is over. But they only need nine squishes. And they will get there if we don’t act.”

Stafford repeatedly pointed out in the email that he was expressing his own opinion, not that of Tuberville. Tuberville later called the email a “no-no” and said he disagreed with its contents in that he does not want to see his fellow senators removed from office. Stafford added that he has apologized to his boss for sending the email without telling him about it.

Stafford’s email was originally sent late last month. An unknown actor leaked it to POLITICO on November 2, the day after Sens. Dan Sullivan, R-AK, Joni Ernst, R-IA, Mitt Romney, R-UT, and Lindsey Graham, R-SC, joined Democrats in attacking Tuberville’s military holds on the Senate floor.

As The Daily Signal reported Wednesday, the move

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was to break a “hold” placed by Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., on more than 300 military promotions to force Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to drop the Pentagon’s abortion policy.

Tuberville and most other Republicans said Austin’s policy is illegal and violates the Hyde Amendment, a decades old measure that prohibits taxpayer funding of abortion.

…Throughout the night, Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, read off numerous Biden nominees for military promotions and made a motion to bring each promotion up for a vote. Each time, Tuberville objected to the Senate’s taking a vote.

Journalist and commentator Mollie Hemingway reported ahead of the Wednesday-night showdown that the Republican plan to turn on Tuberville and aid Democrats in getting the military nominees through was planned well in advance.

“I’m hearing McConnell deputies and allies, including Lindsay Graham, Joni Ernst, Todd Young, and Dan Sullivan, told colleagues today they’re planning an attack on Tommy Tuberville’s hold on military promotions, modeled after Elizabeth Warren’s attack a few months ago,” Hemingway wrote:

Tuberville has blocked unaccountable, review-free unanimous consent for military promotions — all due to the Pentagon’s completely illegal abortion funding policy. During his hold on this easy approval (that would otherwise occur without even a vote) it’s been discovered that more than 40% of the nominees are beholden to DEI and other left-wing ideology at odds with an effective fighting force. The plan to run interference for Biden admin and its woke Pentagon is reportedly scheduled for 6p tonight.

All of the senators who tried to undermine Tuberville’s stand against the administration emphatically asserted that they were pro-life, but their points regarding his holds echoed the arguments that the pro-abortion Pentagon and White House have put out against the Alabama senator.

Wednesday evening, Romney argued on the Senate floor that while the Pentagon’s pro-abortion stance is “intractable,” so is Tuberville’s. “If each senator held up military promotions until we got our way, the military would grind to a halt,” Romney said.

Graham similarly told Tuberville that his effort would open a “pandora’s box” of senators meddling in military affairs every time they disagreed with a policy.

Sullivan argued that Tuberville’s “holds pose a strategic risk to our forces.”

Ernst, per The Daily Signal, “said … the military officers whose promotions were being held up aren’t responsible for [Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s] abortion policy.”

As Hemingway pointed out, however, many of those officers have caused alarm for their “woke” views.

CatholicVote reported in August that Biden nominee Col. Kareem “Monty” Montague

has a history of expressing support for certain aspects of Critical Race Theory (CRT). In a 2017 Facebook post, he wrote that he believes a “system of de facto and de jure segregation has created a long standing imbalance in our country. …As a result, there is a general advantage to being white in this country.”

Montague once compared controversial football-player-turned-BLM-activist Colin Kaepernick to Moses. The colonel has participated in a number of mainstream left-wing movements such as the campaign to do away with “Aunt Jemima” pancake syrup, which Montague said was racist. He also promoted a film on the life of California gay politician Harvey Milk. As CatholicVote has reported, “Milk infamously had a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old runaway boy, who committed suicide after their encounter.”

“Montague is only one of a growing list of military officers whose controversial left-wing stances are being scrutinized due to Tuberville’s decision to pause their advancements,” CatholicVote reported:

As the AAF noted Tuesday, Navy Vice Admiral Craig A. “Clap” Clapperton was photographed attending a 2018 LGBT “pride” celebration with other service members. The Navy Office of Information noted that there, he spoke about the “importance” of such celebrations.

…Captain Neil A. Koprowski, another Navy officer whose promotion Tuberville is blocking, once expressed his desire for his fleet to “promptly address the full spectrum of systemic racism.”

…As chronicled by the AAF, several more of the officers with pending appointments have spoken favorably of the military’s recent Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) efforts.

In July, over 5,000 former and current military service members signed an open letter in support of Tuberville’s decision to block the nominees.

“While some claim that Sen. Tuberville’s position is negatively impacting military readiness, the Department of Defense has failed to present any evidence that substantiates this claim,” the letter stated. “To the contrary, it appears true that the politicized agenda of Secretary Austin and the Biden administration are significantly diminishing military readiness.”

Hemingway on Wednesday questioned the reasoning of the Republican senators fighting Tuberville on behalf of the Biden administration’s nominees. “Republican voters desperately wish that Republican senators were half as mad at Biden’s illegal abortion funding policy and DEI-obsessed military leadership as they are at Tommy Tuberville standing up against it,” she wrote.

LifeNews Note: Joshua Mercer writes for CatholicVote, where this column originally appeared.

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