Dec 6, 2023

Tommy Tuberville Discusses Dropping Military Promotions Holds Transcript

Tommy Tuberville Discusses Dropping Military Promotions Holds Transcript
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Sen. Tommy Tuberville discusses dropping his holds on military promotions. Read the transcript here.

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Speaker 3 (00:00):

Let him get him in place.

Tommy Tuberville (00:02):

Well, if remember now, I was the first one through this, 2004, I went undefeated and I didn’t… They put USC and Oklahoma in, 2004.

Manu Raju (00:09):

But that was before the four-team playoff?

Tommy Tuberville (00:13):

That caused the four-team playoff. And then they put all this criteria together of how to pick the final four because they knew there was going to be some if, ands, or buts, because they’re always. We’re going to go to 12 next year and there’ll be a 13 or 14 going, “How come we didn’t get in?” So you’ve got to have the criteria. And a lot of it was your schedule, how you played, did you get better, obviously injuries. I-

Manu Raju (00:37):

Do you think Alabama should have gotten in?

Tommy Tuberville (00:40):

I think they’re one of the top four teams. But I think you’ve got to really look at Florida State, what they did. Hadn’t been there in a while and so all of a sudden they go from nowhere to supposedly the final four? Didn’t lose a game. What else are you going to do? That’s what I told the media when I didn’t get in. I said, “Hey, nothing else we can do. We won them all. We beat five top 10 teams. We won the SEC.” But they put Oklahoma in, they were behind 40-0 halftime in the championship. Didn’t go very well, but…

Manu Raju (01:10):

And you’re still not bitter about it?

Tommy Tuberville (01:12):

Oh, I’m bitter about it. There’s not many days that go by, I don’t think about that. But somebody’s going to get left out and-

Manu Raju (01:18):

At least they’re going to 12.

Tommy Tuberville (01:22):

As long as the committee went by criteria that was set in stone, and I don’t know what they all go through, but… And I’m all for how they did it because I don’t think there’s any doubt if you watch the end of the year, how much better they’ve gotten in Alabama.

Manu Raju (01:39):

Yeah, it’s just a terrible system. It always has been for so many years.

Tommy Tuberville (01:43):

Yeah. And if Florida State, they don’t lose their quarterback, they’re in.

Manu Raju (01:49):

Yeah, yeah.

Tommy Tuberville (01:50):

Yeah. And they would just looked at the perspective, we can’t have another… TCU last year just got hammered. I forget who it was. I guess it was Georgia. So they’re looking for competitive games and turn TVs on. It’s all about money. A lot of money go to these schools.

Manu Raju (02:11):

Yes, indeed, I know you know that.

Okay, so on military promotions. For a long time, it didn’t seem like you were going to back off your stand. You said to me many, many times you’re standing firm, you’re not backing off. Why’d you back off?

Tommy Tuberville (02:22):

Well, because, first of all, I’m an American. I believe in the country. It’s hard for me because I believe in the unborn and I believe in the military. Schumer’s about power, not about the military. He’s not about the things that I was concerned about every day, about promotions of people.

So I tried to stand for both sides. It’s hard to play a game when the other team has got the ball the whole time and then changes the rules during the game. I was counting on the NDAA. I knew they had the language in the House and still got it in there, but I don’t think I’m going to make it. And then Senator Schumer last week changed where the rules of us getting together as a conference voting on what’s going to be in the NDAA, he said, “No, I’m going to make that decision.” Game, set, match. So, I can’t win.

And again, I’m still thinking about the unborn. I’m thinking about the military people that need to be promoted. It’s been a year for a lot of them. It’s been a long time. And if we go into a next year, then they get kicked back and it starts over again. So, live in a dangerous world and so I’m trying to juggle bowling balls here, trying to make it all work. And finally I said, “Hey, we’ve got to promote these people, get it on.” It’s just unfortunate this administration, they don’t see it the way I see it.

Manu Raju (03:52):

But you had said for me from onset, you didn’t think this had any impact on military readiness. So if it didn’t have any impact on military readiness, why not continue the holds?

Tommy Tuberville (04:00):

It wasn’t as much about readiness as about people. I deal with people used to deal with people all the time, about being fair with them. They worked hard to get where of that… All along, and I’ve told you this, I hated doing this to people that had nothing to do with, and they didn’t. They didn’t have anything to do with this. But it’s the only thing that I had to be able to get the attention of the Democrats of where we’re at with this abortion policy.

And again, we had one, it was working and it was proven and there was no complaints, and they just did it just to be doing it and force it down the taxpayers’ throats and it’s not right. So we look around and go, “Hey, the only thing we can do that we think that they really care about is the military, and we think they will listen to us.” We’re wrong. They could care less about the military. They could care less about promotions. They could care less about readiness.

So it’s a two-way street. Here I’m every day trying to figure out a way to make this work for both sides, keep a strong military, keep people motivated, and also stand up for Constitution and executive overreach of the new abortion policy.

So yeah, 11 months is… I mean, I think we proved a point. We didn’t lose, the American people lost here. The American people lost the opportunity to have a abortion policy that had been fine for 30, 40 years, and it was just changed by an administration that just said, “To heck with American people, we’re going to do it this way because we can do an executive order and step on people and keep going.”

Manu Raju (05:42):

So, I mean, after 11 months you place this hold, the abortion policy still stays here. So what did you get out of this?

Tommy Tuberville (05:50):

Well, I think we exposed people of what they’re about. Again, I’m 120% for the military, but I also ran in Alabama on pro-life. I was going to stand for pro-life, and I did. Not that we were successful, but I think sometimes when you do things like this, you expose people’s actions and thoughts.

Again, if the Democrats, if they’d really cared about military and readiness, think about it, if they really cared about it, we’d have sat down and we’d have negotiated this out, because it’s very few abortions. They told us at the beginning it was going to be 3 or 4,000 a year, which was a big overreach. It has not been. And so it’s just one thing after another. But it’s like playing a football game, and as I said, you never have the ball and the other team can change the rules at any time.

Manu Raju (06:54):

How much they hurt you that Republicans started to publicly call on you to back off?

Tommy Tuberville (06:59):

Well, I didn’t like that, and they knew that. But everybody’s got their point of view. I mean, that’s what in, our caucus ,we do that. I mean, on the other side, they just lockstep and whatever the leader decides to do, that’s what they’re going to do.

I am a true believer that you do what is for your state and for your people. That’s why we’re here. We represent the people of our state. Very controversial subject, as we know, abortion. This was not about abortion as much as it was about taxpayers having to pay for something to do with abortion. And as I’ve told you all along, the majority of the people in this country, no matter what party, said they do not want to have anything to do with their money to pay for anything to do with abortion.

Manu Raju (07:44):

So what do you say to the folks who say, “Senator Tuberville, almost 11 months or so held onto these nominees, didn’t get the policy changed, and got nothing and ultimately capitulated”? What do you say to them?

Tommy Tuberville (07:56):

Well, we knew at the beginning it was going to be a hard fight. But again, it’s all about doing what you think’s right.

Everywhere I went, people said, “Stay with it. Keep working at it. We’re military, we’re scared for our country.” I met a retired military person last night in a airport at 11:30 and he grabs my arm, he says, “I’m proud of you. I’m proud of you. I’m proud of what you’re doing.” He said, “Doesn’t look like you’ve got a great opportunity to win here, like you like doing, you winning, but you’re doing the right thing for the right cause.” And so it makes you feel good about it.

I hate that we didn’t get something done for this, but I think in the long run, you never know. I think we opened a lot of people’s eyes, even in our conference. A lot of us fought Mike Lee, J.D. Vance, Roger Marshall, a lot of us stood up for hours on that floor and fought back. We had some even fight against us. But, that’s politics.

Manu Raju (08:57):

So you’re thinking that if you held this up into the new year, it would impact all these families, that’s what you were concerned about ultimately, that forced you?

Tommy Tuberville (09:04):

Yeah, and we were almost to 500. And so sometimes you’ve got to reevaluate, you’ve got to reevaluate what you’re doing. Obviously, they weren’t going to reevaluate. They could care less about the military or the families or the readiness. They couldn’t care anything about that. They couldn’t care anything about the unborn. And when you don’t have any morals to say, “Man, this is what’s right,” I mean, it’s hard and it’s hard to fight that.

Manu Raju (09:32):

Would you have done it if you differently? Would you have done anything differently?

Tommy Tuberville (09:36):

No, I think we did it probably early. Probably should have gotten with all my colleagues and built a better force. Because our group now, I mean, on every issue, we’re going to have some that’s going to go one way and some the other, which is fine because that’s what you do, you speak for your constituents and America. And I probably didn’t get enough people up front to really understand what we’re doing, why we’re doing, how we’re doing it. But again, my state is different than Iowa, my state’s different than California, and so I’m sticking up for the people in my state.

Manu Raju (10:22):

So no regrets, other than that?

Tommy Tuberville (10:25):

Oh, no. No, no, no. No regrets. And we still have the four-stars that we’re holding. Everybody asked me, “Why four-stars?” Because they’re the leaders of our military and they’re the ones that have to be held accountable. They should be voted on one at a time. You don’t have a lot of them. You know what? We have more now than we’ve ever had. I think we have 44. We only had seven in World War II.

But they need to be vetted because they’re the head coach of what we do, whether it’s Navy or Air Force, and they’re the ones that makes the decision for the future, because we’re struggling. We’re struggling recruiting. We’re struggling in a lot of areas in our military, and we’ve got to get our military back the way it should be, because as me and you’ve talked, we live in a dangerous world.

Manu Raju (11:09):

Last question and I’ll let you go. Did your stand here hurt national security?

Tommy Tuberville (11:15):

Oh, no. Oh, no. I think it helped it. I think people opened their eyes a little bit to what’s going on up here.

Manu Raju (11:20):

Despite what the Pentagon said?

Tommy Tuberville (11:21):

Yeah, I could care less what they say because, I mean, they have not helped with it. If they would’ve negotiated and sat down, “Well, I mean, we offered this, we offered that. We were looking for a compromise. We’re trying to work with Coach to get this done because we really care about our military. We really care about people, families”? Zero.

And so it goes to show you, if you’re not even willing to sit down and listen to my side and then listen to their side and see if there’s a common ground of one little thing that would make it better and comparable to the American people, I think you’d just have a better opportunity to sell this. But, hey, they wanted nothing to do with compromise. It’s either their way or the highway, and that’s not how this country works.

Manu Raju (12:10):

All right. I’ll let you go, Congressman.

Tommy Tuberville (12:11):

All right, thank you.

Manu Raju (12:12):

Thanks for your time.

Tommy Tuberville (12:12):

Thank you.

Manu Raju (12:12):

Appreciate it.

Tommy Tuberville (12:12):

[inaudible 00:12:14]

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