Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Connecticut Democrat, on Tuesday threatened to hold up a slew of military nominations unless action is taken to remove retired Army Brig. Gen. Anthony Tata from his new role performing the duties of a top Pentagon policy official after his Senate nomination hearing was abruptly canceled last week.
The White House formally announced that the nomination of Gen. Tata to be the next under secretary of defense for policy was withdrawn Monday afternoon following bipartisan opposition to the appointment.
But the Defense Department announced over the weekend that he would instead perform the duties of the deputy undersecretary of defense for policy, effectively circumventing a Senate confirmation process.
Both Democratic and Republican members of the Senate Armed Services Committee had expressed skepticism of Gen. Tata’s nomination after polarizing remarks he had made on social media were discovered, including criticizing Islam and calling former President Barack Obama a “terrorist leader.”
During a Senate Armed Services Committee nomination hearing for four separate military appointees Tuesday, Mr. Blumenthal said that he “will almost certainly oppose nominees unless something is done to correct this situation.”
Democrats have forcefully pushed back on the White House’s recent move and have urged officials to reverse Gen. Tata’s latest assignment.