Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) responded to a social media post from a former CIA director that suggested he be removed “from the human race” by referring the comment to the U.S. Capitol Police.
This week, former CIA Director Michael Hayden responded to an X post that read: “Should Tommy Tuberville be removed from his committee? Yes or No?” Mr. Hayden responded by asking: “How about the human race?”
Some commentators on X, formerly Twitter, interpreted it as a call for the Alabama senator’s assassination. Mr. Tuberville also said that he believed it was a call for violence, releasing a statement saying he referred the former CIA boss to the U.S. Capitol Police.
“This morning my office was made aware of a statement made by General Michael Hayden calling for a politically motivated assassination,” the senator said.
“This statement is disgusting and it is repugnant to everything we believe in as Americans. Given General Hayden’s long career in Washington, he must have known that, by making such a statement, he was committing a serious crime.”
Former CIA Director Michael Hayden (Ret.) testifies during a hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington on Aug. 4, 2015. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Elaborating, he wrote that Mr. Hayden’s “efforts today to reinterpret what he said are only a tacit admission of guilt,” according to the statement. “If we still have a nonpolitical justice system in this country, then General Hayden will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. My office has reported this incident to the Capitol Police and I expect that they will once again do an excellent job protecting members of Congress and bringing criminals to justice.”
Earlier in the day, Mr. Hayden responded to allegations that he wanted the assassination of Mr. Tuberville, who notably has maintained a blockade on U.S. military nominations.
“I was surprised to wake up this morning and discover that many MAGAnuts had lost their minds over my suggestion that ‘Coach’ Tuberville not be considered a member of the human race. I stand by that view,” the former CIA chief wrote, referring to the senator’s previous job as the head coach of multiple college football teams over the years. “I’m wishing you all a nice day even the intransigent Tommy Tuberville.”
The senator’s office has said that he will continue his blockade on Pentagon confirmations amid the conflict that erupted over the past weekend in Israel. U.S. State Department-designated terrorist group Hamas launched multiple surprise attacks on Israel, leaving hundreds of civilians dead and prompting a significant response from Jerusalem.
“The Pentagon clearly thinks forcing taxpayers to facilitate abortion is more important than confirming their top nominees without a vote,” a Tuberville spokesperson told NBC News. “They could end this situation today by dropping their illegal and immoral policy and get everyone confirmed rapidly, but they refuse.”
As of August, some 301 leadership positions in the Department of Defense were vacant, according to data obtained by the Washington Post. The senator has said that he will keep up the blockade because the Pentagon’s abortion policy violates federal laws.
Meanwhile, Mr. Tuberville also criticized Senate Democrats for not coming to his defense or condemning the former CIA chief’s remarks.
“I am a conservative and a Republican, but above all, I am an American who cares about this country and is deeply concerned for its future,” his statement said. “I am not a politician, and when I came to Washington, I did not expect to be popular among the clown show; but I certainty did not expect to be lied about on the Senate floor and threatened by former government officials like Michael Hayden. Anyone who actually cares about our country must go on the record and condemn his reckless statements.”
Mr. Hayden served as the CIA director from 2006 to 2009 under former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. In 2017, he became an analyst for CNN, often criticizing former President Donald Trump and has backed President Joe Biden’s presidency and 2020 candidacy.
Several months ago, Mr. Hayden and several other retired military officials criticized Mr. Tuberville’s hold on confirmations.
“Risking our military’s planning and preparedness and our national security to make a political point is far out of bounds,” the letter said. “The world is too dangerous to cede our leadership, which is why we urge Senator Tuberville to swiftly end his blockade and to respect our nation’s service members and their families.”