U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Auburn) accused the Biden administration of taking his words out of context after the White House released a memo bashing the senator for remarks made about Israel earlier this week.
In an interview with Birmingham-based corporate news station WBRC, Tuberville discussed the ongoing military conflict in Israel, which started last weekend when Palestinian terrorists fired rockets into and raided several towns near the Gaza Strip and took hostages.
Tuberville told the station that he thought Israel had the right to go to war against the terrorists and hoped the Palestinians would start cooperating and give the hostages back.
"But the problem is when you start picking sides in the Middle East, it could get really messy very quick," Tuberville said, inciting backlash from the mainstream media and the Biden administration, which is already unfavorable of the senator due to his hold on military promotions over a Department of Defense (DOD) abortion policy.
After the U.S. Supreme Court brought the abortion issue back to the states by overturning Roe v. Wade, 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.
Tuberville condemned the attacks against Isreal when speaking to 1819 News earlier this week and criticized Biden for having "slept through" it. He also suggested that Iran was behind the aggression and that "it's just unfortunate Israel is right in the middle of it."
He has also been vocal on Twitter since the attacks began on Saturday, offering help to Alabamians who are still in Isreal and need help getting out and calling attention to a $6 billion prisoner release deal between the United States, Qatar and Iran.
If you know of an Alabamian who is still in Israel and needs help getting out, please reach out to my office. We are ready to assist folks.https://t.co/O6oLpkhW8p— Coach Tommy Tuberville (@SenTuberville) October 9, 2023
"The Iran-backed terrorist attacks on Israel are completely unacceptable," Tuberville said in a tweet on Saturday. "Israel has every right to respond with force. The United States and Alabama stand firmly with Israel as they defend themselves against these barbaric terrorist attacks."
The Iran-backed terrorist attacks on Israel are completely unacceptable. Israel has every right to respond with force.— Coach Tommy Tuberville (@SenTuberville) October 7, 2023
The United States and Alabama stand firmly with Israel as they defend themselves against these barbaric terrorist attacks.
Nevertheless, White House deputy press secretary Andrew Bates released a memo on Wednesday condemning the senator for both the comment about picking sides and his military promotion holds, according to reports.
Bates suggested Tuberville should "look in the mirror and then follow the President's lead" because Biden "knows which side he's on."
In response to the memo, Tuberville insisted the president cherry-picked his words to get him to cave on his fight against the DOD abortion policy.
"Israel is our closest ally, and I firmly stand with them," Tuberville told 1819 News on Friday morning. "Joe Biden is attempting to deflect the facts that he lifted sanctions against Iran and handed over $6 billion and Iranian prisoners to get Americans back, all while Iran was plotting with Hamas to go into Israel with the mission to obtain more hostages."
"Now 27 Americans are dead, and others are held hostage," he continued. "My first priority is getting our Americans back, then Hamas needs to be wiped off the map. The White House using these atrocities and trying to spin my words to put more political pressure on me to lift military holds is despicable. But it's par for the course for this administration."
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