US Marine Corps Left Without A Leader

( – General David H. Berger retired as the commandant of the Marine Corps on July 10, almost four years to the day he took command of the military branch. Though Congress would have typically confirmed a new leader right away, that didn’t happen this time. Instead, a senator blocked the next commandant from taking the role.

Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) is blocking the conformations of military officers because of his views on abortion. The congressman is angry that the Department of Defense is allowing members of the military and their families to travel out of state to access the procedure. That means that for the first time since 1859, there is no confirmed leader for the Marines.

Marine Corps General Eric Smith, the current assistant commandant, took over Berger’s duties and continues to perform his own. Sabrina Singh, a Department of Defense spokesperson, told the press that’s how it will remain until the Senate approves his nomination. She also pointed out that Tuberville has held up about 265 officer nominations with his protest.

Tuberville is facing backlash from members of the Senate on both sides of the aisle for continuing to block military officers’ confirmations. He was also condemned for his defense of white supremacists serving in the military during a CNN interview.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) slammed Tuberville on July 10 during a speech on the upper chamber’s floor. He told his Republican colleague to stop holding up the nominations and said he was “wrong, wrong, wrong.” Senator John Thune (R-SD), who serves as the Republican whip, spoke to reporters and said the longer Tuberville’s protest drags on, “the more problematic it becomes for the military to function.”

Despite the backlash, Tuberville has said he intends to continue to block officers and prevent military positions from being filled with permanent replacements. He said he doesn’t believe he is impacting military readiness.

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