JASPER — U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Auburn) told 1819 News on Tuesday he expects an apology from former CIA director Michael Hayden for a comment Hayden made late on Monday night suggesting Tuberville should be removed from "the human race."
Former President George W. Bush appointed Hayden CIA director in 2006. Before that, he was head of head of the National Security Agency, overseeing the organization's controversial domestic wiretapping program.
The comments came after a drawn-out battle over the Department of Defense's (DOD) abortion policy.
After the U.S. Supreme Court brought the abortion issue back to the states by overturning Roe v. Wade last summer, the Pentagon decided to aid female soldiers in obtaining abortions by offering them up to three weeks of leave and transportation allowances to travel to states where abortion is legal.
Tuberville, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, threatened to impede President Joe Biden's DOD nominations if the policy were implemented without congressional approval. His decision slows Biden's efforts to fill DOD positions without a formal Senate vote.
Tuberville clarified earlier this year that his hold did not stop all nominees from being confirmed but rather prevented the Senate from confirming them in large swaths instead of individually.
Though several conservatives have backed Tuberville and his hold, he has faced criticism from Democrats and some neoconservatives.
"It was one of those late-night tweets," Tuberville said following a Walker County Chamber of Commerce speech. "... I would expect an apology soon. I would hope. The problem is you've got so many psychos out there that read that stuff, and we have enough problems with death threats and all those [things] that go on anyway, but you think this guy would know a little bit better. It's obvious he should've never been in the position he was in."
When asked, Tuberville said he'd never met Hayden in person. Nevertheless, this isn't Hayden's first time attacking the senator. He called Tuberville a racist last month for not voting to confirm Gen. Charles Q. Brown, Jr. as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Just 20 minutes prior to Tuberville's speech, Hayden doubled down on his remarks on X, the social media site formerly known as Twitter.
"I was surprised to wake up this morning and discover that many MAGAnuts had lost their minds over my suggestion that 'Coach' Tuberville not be considered a member of the human race," Hayden tweeted. "I stand by that view. I'm wishing you all a nice day, even the intransigent Tommy Tuberville."
I was surprised to wake up this morning and discover that many MAGAnuts had lost their minds over my suggestion that “Coach” Tuberville not be considered a member of the human race. I stand by that view. I’m wishing you all a nice day even the intransigent Tommy Tuberville.— Gen Michael Hayden (@GenMhayden) October 10, 2023
"It's obvious that he doesn't have both oars in the water," Tuberville said. "He shouldn't drink every day. I don't know what he's doing. That's uncalled for. I've never said that about anybody, whether you like them or dislike them. Even Alabama fans never said that about me when I was Auburn's coach."
Tuberville insisted his hold would continue despite the backlash.
"I'm doing it for the right reasons," he said. "All they got to do is change the policy back to get their nominees confirmed, but they care more about killing babies than they do about national security. They're the ones holding up national security, not me."
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