New year, same Sarah Huckabee Sanders!
The Arkansas governor sent the following missive Tuesday to Joe Biden and the Department of Defense, claiming a National Guard commander recently resigned from his post due to the Pentagon’s policy on abortion and his strongly held religious beliefs.
The Defense Department protects female service member’s access to reproductive care, regardless of where they are stationed. Service members must be granted an administrative absence, and are eligible to have their transportation costs covered if they must travel out of state.
How about we take this to the next level?
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Sanders says Arkansas Air National Guard Commander Colonel Dillon R. Patterson resigned because of his anti-choice stance.
Here’s just a sampling of her self-indulgent letter:
Unfortunately, Col. Patterson was forced to personally choose between either continuing his command or adhering to his sincerely held religious beliefs against abortion. Because he adhered first to his faith instead of overtly political mandates, he voluntarily resigned his command. I admire Col. Patterson for having the confidence of his convictions, but regret that our nation’s military will suffer the loss of a dedicated airman, leader, and guardsman as a commander.
While half the country made the obvious determination that the killing of helpless, unborn children is contrary to the public interest, Secretary Austin declared that the U.S. Department of Defense (“DoD” or “Defense Department”) would subvert the actions of states like Arkansas by using taxpayer dollars to fund the travel, meals, and lodging associated with out-of-state servicemember travel for procurement of an abortion procedure. Maybe equally as egregious, the DoD now requires that commanding officers—regardless of any sincere and deeply held religious convictions to the contrary—are forced to approve such abortion leave.
Abortion is itself a barbaric practice. But it is apparently not enough for this administration that abortion be available in some states and regulated in others. Thus, the Defense Department must now apparently sacrifice lifelong personnel’s leadership in the name of military readiness—a laughable paradox if it were not so deeply offensive and damaging.
Sanders’ blatantly partisan language shows her letter is nothing more than a publicity stunt designed to create division and appeal to her base.
She isn’t interested in meeting with Defense Sec. Lloyd Austin and talking through any disagreements. Instead, she just wants to trash him… like a true keyboard warrior!
The political nepo baby is all about the retweets.
But like many of her pandering acts, the letter has blown up in her face.
Republicans, who used to always stress their supposed unabashed support for the military, have recently taken to ripping the armed services.
The most egregious recent example is Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville, who blocked hundreds of Pentagon promotions due to the DoD’s abortion policy.
Military officers talked openly about the damage Tuberville was causing, until he backtracked on his blockade last month.
On the presidential campaign trail, GOP candidates have also taken to smearing our troops. Ron “Don’t Say Gay” DeSantis promises to eliminate the military’s alleged “social experimentation,” while Nikki Haley says service members are forced to take “gender pronoun classes.”
Complaining about things that aren’t a thing.
— Lowicious Bridge (@CrookedPol) December 16, 2023
— Landen Smith (@Landensmith_11) December 17, 2023
In addition to being shameless, there are some holes in Sanders’ story. She says Col. Patterson resigned in December due to the Pentagon’s abortion rules, even though the policy was implemented in February and Col. Patterson took his position in June, months after it was already in place…
But Sanders, like many of her right-wing cohorts, never lets facts get in the way of a good smear job. In her letter, she references the military’s poor recruitment numbers, implying that its liberal social policies are to blame.
“At a time when nearly every military branch has failed to meet recruiting thresholds, it is difficult to imagine a more irresponsible and shortsighted bureaucratic mandate. As relevant here, nationally, the Air National Guard missed its most recent recruiting goals by a shocking 40%,” she writes.
Of course, there’s no evidence to support his claim. In fact, Pentagon officials don’t blame politics for their recruitment shortcomings at all. The biggest issues are probably structural.
Research suggests that 77% of young Americans aren’t eligible to serve without obtaining a waiver, due to common health concerns such as obesity and mental illness.
Experts say concern over the treatment of veterans, competition from the labor market and effects from the COVID pandemic are responsible as well.
Cmdr. Nicole Schwegman, a Defense Department spokesperson, told the Tampa Bay Times young adults are concerned over “physical or psychological injury, perceived incompatibility of military service with their desired life or career paths, and apprehensions regarding the treatment of service members.”
She says potential recruits don’t mention abortion or other social topics.
It’s been exactly one year since Sanders became Arkansas’ governor, and she’s done nothing except punish her constituents. Her cruelty reached new heights this holiday season, when Arkansas kicked more than 400,000 constituents off of Medicaid.
Just before Thanksgiving, she denied clemency to a man with severe developmental disabilities who’s spent 32 years in state prison for a murder he almost certainly didn’t commit.
While Arkansas continues to rank as one of the worst states to live in, Sanders is using her position to spread pain… and purchase nearly $20,000 podiums.