Several Democrats on the Senate Armed Services Committee said Monday that they would oppose the nomination of retired Army Brig. Gen. Anthony Tata to oversee the Pentagon’s policy shop.
CNN’s KFile reported on Friday that Tata had a history of making Islamophobic and inflammatory remarks against prominent Democratic politicians, including falsely calling former President Barack Obama a Muslim.
If confirmed by the Senate, Tata would become the third highest official in the Pentagon overseeing the Defense Department’s policy shop, including its national security and defense strategy, nuclear deterrence and missile defense policy, and security cooperation plans and policies. The policy chief also closely advises the secretary of defense on national security and supports the Department of Defense’s program and budget decisions.
A spokesman for Rhode Island Sen. Jack Reed, the top Democrat on the committee that would oversee Tata’s nomination, said in a statement on Monday he would oppose the pick.
“Senator Reed’s preference is to wait for the hearing process before commenting on nominees,” Chip Unruh, Reed’s press secretary, said in a statement reported by Politico. “But in this case there are real warning signs flashing and if this nomination moves forward, Senator Reed will oppose it.”
In addition, Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Gary Peters of Michigan and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York all also told CNN they would oppose Tata’s nomination, with Warren telling CNN, “An Islamophobic conspiracy theorist who called President Obama a ‘terrorist leader’ should not be #3 at the Pentagon. Anthony Tata is by far Trump’s most unqualified & ill-suited senior defense nominee – a high bar.”
CNN’s KFile reached out to Republican members of the Armed Services committee, but did not immediately hear back on if they supported his nomination. Tata did not immediately return a request for comment. The Defense Department referred questions to the White House.
White House spokesman Judd Deere told CNN that Tata is a “distinguished public servant.”
“Anthony Tata, the President’s exceptionally qualified nominee for Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, is a distinguished public servant whose career has provided him with planning, policy, and operational experience both at home and abroad,” Deere said in a statement. “His education, background, and record has earned him bi-partisan praise, and this attempt by the media to slander his reputation is disgusting. The White House stands by the President’s qualified nominee.”
The retired general currently works as a senior adviser in the Department of Defense.
Reed’s statement comes as CNN’s KFile has found more conspiracy tweets recently deleted by Tata, including sharing an article that claimed Obama was “a manchurian candidate” purposely attempting to bring down the United States.
“Never a doubt. Among dozens of clues, Obama supported Russian meddling in 2016 election & influenced Israeli elections to try to oust Netanyahu & help Hamas & Muslim brotherhood U.S. really did have Manchurian Candidate in White House - Washington Times,” Tata tweeted on July 2, 2018, in a since deleted tweet linking to a Washington Times op-ed.
“The Manchurian Candidate” is a 1950s novel involving a soldier being brainwashed into being a sleeper agent for the Soviet Union in a plot to take over the United States and the term is colloquially used to describe someone secretly acting in support of the interests of foreign enemies or powers.
The Washington Times opinion piece claimed, “America really did have a Manchurian Candidate in The White House for eight years. If you look at the evidence, there really is no other conclusion,” adding, “deviousness of the Obama sedition runs deep.”
The article said Obama did not really want to destroy ISIS and took actions to intentionally let them fester like pulling troops out of Iraq and approving the Iran deal. The article also questioned if Obama intentionally took down Gadhafi to destabilize Libya to let ISIS “gain another foothold.”
Tata, in two tweets that have not been deleted, also accused the Obama administration of treason. In an April 2018 tweet, in which he quote tweeted an account that has since been removed from Twitter, Tata said Obama and Clinton appeared to be guilty of treason.
“If true, and it appears to be, #Obama and #Clinton are guilty of sedition and/or treason 18 U.S. Code 2384,” he wrote, linking to a legal definition of treason.
In May 2018, Tata tweeted at former CIA Director John Brennan, “Might be a good time to pick your poison: firing squad, public hanging, life sentence as prison b*tch, or just suck on your pistol. Your call. #Treason #Sedition #crossfirehurricane #Obamagate”
In another deleted tweet from July, Tata wrote that Obama sought to fundamentally change America because he hated the country.
“The violent left today is not new. Its modern origins in @BarackObama relationship w domestic terrorist Bill Ayers & radical pastor Jeremiah Wright, who hated America. Saul Alinsky’s #RulesforRadicals = bible. The left hates America which is why Obama sought ‘fundamental change,’” Tata wrote.
This story has been updated with comment from White House spokesman Judd Deere.