The top Marine Corps officer is hospitalized, and the Democrats are placing the blame on a Republican senator. They claim that General Eric Smith’s ability to handle his dual responsibilities may have caused him to fail at both. Republican Senator from Alabama, Tommy Tuberville, is preventing military advancements at the moment.
The Marine Corps’ acting commandant and representative on the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Smith, had a heart attack while running on October 29 and was sent to the hospital. Smith, a 58-year-old native of Kansas City, Missouri who joined the Corps in 1987 and participated in both Iraq wars, has been serving as Assistant Commandant since 2021 and was chosen to succeed General David Berger as Commandant in May.
Unfortunately for Smith, that’s where Senator Tuberville comes in. Since February, Tuberville has been blocking any attempt by the Senate to confirm senior military appointments. The USMC, as well as the US Army and US Navy, were all left for months with acting appointees in the top jobs. Tuberville is objecting to Defense Department policy on female service personnel seeking abortions, which he’s calling an “illegal expansion of DoD authority,” and has vowed to continue blocking promotions until it’s changed. The problem is that with the Senate unable to confirm appointments, many senior officers are being left wearing two or more hats. Now Democrats are claiming that’s piling stress on them — and could have been responsible for General Smith’s heart attack.
While the Senate was able to confirm Smith as Army Chief of Staff and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs without Tuberville’s approval on September 20, the United States Marine Corps is presently without an Assistant Commandant. In the military, superior officers set the overall direction and objectives, while enlisted men and women execute the plan. Smith has been taking on everything by himself for months, and he may have reached his breaking point.