WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden announced plans for more military appointments on Friday as Sen. Tommy Tuberville continued his grip on more than 250 military promotions to protest the Department of Defense’s abortion policy.
Biden slammed the Alabama Republican in announcing the four expected nominees, arguing that support for the military transcends politics.
“What Senator Tuberville is doing is not just wrong, it’s dangerous,” Biden said in a statement. “At this time of rapidly changing security environments and intense competition, it jeopardizes our ability to ensure that the United States Armed Forces remain the greatest fighting force in world history.”
“And his Republican colleagues in the Senate know it,” Biden added.
The candidates targeted are all naval officers: Adm. Lisa Franchetti for Chief of Naval Operations; Vice Admiral James Kilby for Vice Chief of Naval Operations; Adm. Samuel Paparo for the commander of the Indo-Pacific Command; and Vice Admiral Stephen “Web” Koehler for Commander Pacific Fleet.
If confirmed, Franchetti would be the first woman to hold the position and serve on the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the White House said.
“These leadership positions are far too important to be delayed while a senator prioritizes his national political agenda over our military readiness,” Biden said.
When reached for comment, a spokesperson for Tuberville said “the dangerous thing is that Joe Biden is politicizing our military, as he has since his first day in office,” adding that the senator “will continue his efforts to get politics out of the military.”
The White House has stepped up its criticism of the Tuberville blockade on military appointments and promotions. Earlier this week, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said that “a cascading effect of delayed promotions threatens to cause a brain drain from the military.” Biden earlier this month called Tuberville’s tactics “totally irresponsible.”
Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the senator’s decision created “a preparedness problem”. Tuberville and Austin spoke earlier this week, but the senator continued to block Senate nominations.
This article originally appeared on NBCNews.com