President Donald Trump maintains his support for retired Brigadier General Anthony Tata — who was formally nominated by Trump to be the Pentagon’s next Under Secretary of Defense for Policy in June — in spite of offensive and anti-Islamic tweets posted by Tata in 2018. White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany revealed that Tata continues to have the commander in chief’s backing during a press briefing on Friday.
“The president still supports General Tata,” said McEnany (as transcribed by Rev), who declined to answer further when pressed on the possibility that Trump could simply install Tata in a different Pentagon position in an acting role.
“I have no personnel announcements other than to say that the president still supports him.”
The general’s Senate confirmation hearing on Thursday was postponed by Republican Sen. James Inhofe (Oklahoma), who serves as Chairman of the Armed Services Committee, just a half-hour before it was slated to begin.
“There are many Democrats and Republicans who didn’t know enough about Anthony Tata to consider him for a very significant position at this time,” Inhofe said in a statement. “We didn’t get the required documentation in time; some documents, which we normally get before a hearing, didn’t arrive until yesterday.”
He further stated that he had previously informed Trump of his decision. Meanwhile, Democratic Sen. Jack Reed (Rhode Island) indicated in a separate statement that “members on both sides of the aisle” have questions about Tata, which is believed to include his history of Islamophobic rhetoric.
The tweets in question — which have since been deleted — showed Tata claiming that the Islamic faith fuels more terror than any other modern religion or ideology. He further espoused a conspiracy theory that former President Barack Obama is a practicing Muslim and a “terrorist leader.”
Although Tata’s ascension to the Pentagon’s No. 3 position has been delayed, Trump could still install him to an acting role. A provision of the Vacancies Reform Act permits the White House to appoint someone to an acting post as long as that person has performed in a senior advisory role at that agency for at least 90 days before the vacancy occurs.
Tata has served as a senior adviser to Defense Secretary Mark Esper since springtime.
In addition to his military career and work with the Trump administration, the 60-year-old previously served as North Carolina’s Secretary of Transportation and a political commentator for Fox News. He has also penned several military thriller novels.
In other White House news, the president has come under fire recently for a tweet in which he suggested he might delay the upcoming general election.