The already salty feud between President Joe Biden and Republican Senator Tommy Tuberville from Alabama took a turn for the worse this week, once the White House quashed a decision from the Trump administration that would’ve moved the Space Command to Tuberville’s home state.
Instead of moving Space Command, the Biden administration announced it would be remaining in its current Colorado location.
That decision naturally set off the congressional delegation from Alabama, which was hoping the command’s relocation would bring work and revenue to their state. Tuberville was especially upset.
It’s hard not to wonder whether the decision was made as retaliation for the fact that Tuberville has held up more than 300 appointees from the military over the Pentagon’s policies in regard to abortion.
If the White House wanted to try to make inroads with Tuberville and get their military appointments advanced through the Senate, this was certainly not the way to do it. Now, it seems very likely that the Alabama senator will just dig his toes in further, and continue to hold up all nominees that the Biden administration puts forward.
Tuberville already accused the White House of playing politics when it made this decision. In a statement he released earlier this week, he said:
“As soon as Joe Biden took office, he paused movement on that decision and inserted politics into what had been a fair and objective competition – not because the facts had changed, but because the political party of the sitting President had changed.”
According to the White House, though, Biden said the most significant factor that he considered about Space Command’s location was how a potential move over to Alabama might impact “operational readiness to confront space-enabled threats.”
John Kirby, the U.S. national security adviser, was asked about whether Biden nixed the Space Command move because Alabama is a red state. He responded:
“Let me put this as plainly as I can. The deciding factor for President Biden in deciding to keep Space Command in Colorado Springs was operational readiness. Pure and simple.
“Had nothing to do with Senator Tuberville’s holds. Had nothing to do with partisan politics.”
Despite those words, Republicans believe just the opposite – that this decision by the Biden administration is a direct result of Tuberville holding up military appointments and advancements in the Senate. He’s been doing this for about five months now, and the White House is fed up with the inaction, they believe.
One GOP member from Alabama, who remained anonymous, told media outlet The Hill recently:
“There are a good amount of people in the business community and center-right who essentially feel whether or not the Space Command decision is related to Coach’s holds, it certainly has given the Biden administration political cover.”
He also said Tuberville’s actions have amounted to “an understandable excuse” for the Biden administration keeping Space Command in Colorado. He added:
“With the entire circus [the holds have] created, it’s totally impossible for discussion to be about the merits. It’s unfortunate.”