“I do not support withholding military appointments,” Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the minority leader, told reporters recently when asked about Mr. Tuberville’s actions. That wasn’t enough to dissuade the Alabama senator or his staunch supporters in the GOP ranks, who filled in for him when he wasn’t at the Capitol to press his objections to a policy that angered the anti-abortion Republican base.
The resulting stalemate is beginning to take a tangible toll on the military. On Monday, the first of the outgoing Joint Chiefs, Gen. David H. Berger, the Marine, will step down in a “resignation of office” ceremony, leaving his current deputy and designated successor, Gen. Eric Smith, to take over without. The blessing of Congress.
During August and September, the chiefs of staff of the Army, Navy and Air Force, as well as General Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, are expected to follow suit, leaving the organization with more temporary residents than in any moment in its history.
“We know these holdings will have a ripple effect across the department,” Sabrina Singh, a Pentagon spokeswoman, said last month, arguing that Mr. Tuberville was setting a “dangerous precedent” that “puts our military readiness at risk.”
Similar sentiments were expressed by the White House, where the press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, argued last month that Mr. Tuberville’s tactics were “a threat to our national security,” and by Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and the majority leader, who denounced on the floor last month “the damaging effect that Senator Tuberville is having on senior military promotions is having on our national security and military readiness.”