The Senate deadlocked 50-50 on a straight party-line procedural vote to discharge Kahl’s nomination from the Armed Services Committee, requiring Harris to break the tie. She’ll likely have to cast two more tie-breaking votes on Kahl’s nomination before he is confirmed to the No. 3 civilian position at the Pentagon.
But Republicans were unified in their opposition to Kahl. In a contentious confirmation hearing, they criticized Kahl over his tweets during the Trump administration, including statements that the “Republican party has debased itself at the altar of Trump” and the GOP was the party of “ethnic cleansing,” in response to a story about Syria. Kahl apologized to the Republican senators for using “sometimes disrespectful” language in tweets.
“Republicans on the committee did not vote against Dr. Kahl simply because we disagreed with his policy views,” said Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee. “Good and kind people can disagree with each other — they don’t have to resort to name calling, ad hominem attacks and accusations of war crimes.”
Republicans have also accused Kahl of potentially disclosing classified information, and a group of 18 GOP senators sent a letter to the FBI last week calling for an investigation into his tweets they say discussed classified information.
Manchin told CNN last month that Kahl’s tweets weren’t as “pointed” at specific individuals and senators and were focused much more on policy.
Kahl’s nomination deadlocked in the Armed Services Committee, 13-13, which is why Wednesday’s procedural vote was needed to discharge the nomination from the committee to the Senate floor.