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Top House Democrat raises concerns about Biden’s likely defense secretary pick

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A Democratic member of the House Armed Services Committee expressed concerns on Tuesday about President-elect Joe Biden‘s likely pick for Secretary of Defense, retired General Lloyd Austin. Fox News reported Monday night that Biden is set to make the announcement this week.

In a Twitter thread, Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.) wrote that picking Gen. Austin, a retired four-star general, “just feels off,” saying that the cabinet position is traditionally reserved for civilians. Slotkin is a former CIA analyst who served three tours of duty in the Iraq War during the presidencies of George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

“I have deep respect for Gen. Lloyd Austin. We worked together when he commanded U.S. forces in Iraq, when he was vice chief of the Army, and when he was the CENTCOM commander,” Slotkin said in a Twitter statement. “But choosing another recently retired general to serve in a role designed for a civilian just feels off.”

“The job of secretary of defense is purpose-built to ensure civilian oversight of the military,” Slotkin stressed. “That is why it requires a waiver from the House and Senate to put a recently retired military officer in the job.”

“And after the last 4 years, civil-military relations at the Pentagon definitely need to be rebalanced,” she added. “Gen. Austin has had an incredible career––but I’ll need to understand what he and the Biden Administration plan to do to address these concerns before I can vote for his waiver.”

Previously during the Trump administration, retired four-star Gen. Jim Mattis served for a period of time as Secretary of Defense. President Trump also appointed former Marines Corps Gen. John Kelly to be his Secretary of Homeland Security and then his White House chief of staff, as well as retired Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster as his national security advisor. Significantly, Mattis was the first retired military officer to serve as defense secretary in seven decades.

This public statement comes from a member of Biden’s moderate wing of the Democratic Party, a congresswoman who is also a military veteran and member of the intelligence community,.

If Austin is in fact appointed, he will need a special waiver approved by both chambers of Congress because of a federal law that bans retired officers from serving as secretary of defense for at least seven years after they retire from the military. After this approval, Austin would then need to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate. He would be the first Black American to serve in this cabinet position.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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Stacy Abrams: ‘No such thing as heartbeat at 6 weeks’, ‘manufactured’ for men to ‘take control of a woman’s body’

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“There is no such thing as a heartbeat at six weeks,” Abrams claimed during an event at the Ray Charles Performing Arts Center in Atlanta last week. “It is a manufactured sound designed to convince people that men have the right to take control of a woman’s body.”

As National Review reports, even her own man-hating rhetoric is antithetical to the website of Planned Parenthood which said a “very basic beating heart and circulatory system develop” during the fifth to sixth week of pregnancy.

Planned Parenthood later amended its website to more closely reflect pro-abortion messaging against heartbeat laws, which ban abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected. Now the site says a “part of the embryo starts to show cardiac activity” during that time.

Abrams is running for governor in Georgia in a rematch against incumbent Governor Brian Kemp. Abrams lost to Kemp in 2018 by more than 54,000 votes. Additionally, Abrams has never concededto Kemp and has claimed the 2018 election was “stolen from Georgians.”

Abrams words were to suggest that Georgia’s heartbeat law shouldn’t be referred to as the “Fetal Heartbeat Bill.” Her reasoning? Because “that’s medically false, biologically a lie.”

When The View co-host Alyssa Farah asked Abrams “Do you think there should be any legal limits on abortion, such as the third trimester or viability?” Abrams responded: “I believe that abortion is a medical decision, not a political decision…Arbitrary politically-defined timelines are deeply problematic because they ignore the reality of medical and physiological issues.”

“Abortion is a medical decision, not a political decision … The limit should not be made by politicians who don’t understand basic biology or apparently basic morality,” she added.

Kemp is up 6.6 percentage points in RCP polling average over Abrams.

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