ICYMI, Republicans’ irritation with Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s (R-AL) months-long military promotion blockade blew up on the Senate floor last night, as a handful of Senate Republicans tried to hold a series of individual votes on nominees to bypass him.
He blocked each one.
Talk of a potential of nine incensed Senate Republicans joining with Democrats to pass a resolution that could serve as a workaround to Tuberville’s blockade resurfaced this afternoon— alongside news that the Alabama Republican’s spokesperson is preemptively sending out a warning to those potential nine.
Tuberville had hijacked an archaic Senate rule back in February to protest a Department of Defense policy on reimbursing military personnel who have to travel to seek abortion care, both inside the post-Roe U.S. and in other countries. Since then, he’s held up the filling of 350-plus senior military positions with his antics.
After last night’s Senate floor showdown, Democrats have begun making louder noises about a Sens. Jack Reed (D-RI) and Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ) resolution that would allow the Senate to confirm a chunk of military officer promotions en masse. The resolution would be subject to the filibuster, meaning it’d need the support of at least nine Republicans to pass.
That’s what leads us to today’s news.
Politico obtained an email this afternoon that Tuberville’s communications director Steven Stafford sent out from his Senate email address on October 26, urging the recipients — reportedly anti-abortion groups — to help spread the word that any Republicans who help Democrats bypass Tuberville’s blockade would risk primary challenges. The note is couched in phrases like “in my opinion” and it doesn’t say that the senator had signed off on the correspondence, according to Politico.
“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 reportedly wrote. “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 took responsibility for the inappropriate use of his Senate email and told Politico the email was intended for a “a small group of people I thought were my friends” and said, “it is not the opinion of Coach,” deploying the nauseatingly down-to-earth moniker referencing the senator’s past life.
Tuberville happily embraced Stafford’s fall on the sword.
“He did a ‘no no,’” he told Politico. “It wasn’t my statement. I totally disagree with that. We’re teammates here.”
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