Nominee For Top Pentagon Spot Goes On Tweet-Deleting Binge As Inflammatory Posts Come To Light

Anthony Tata. Getty Images.
June 17, 2020 4:49 p.m.

Retired Army Brig. Gen. Anthony Tata has hurriedly deleted old tweets, some of which capture him expressing Islamophobic and racist sentiments, as his nomination for a top Pentagon position is considered by the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Here are five points on President Trump’s pick for Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, a top job tasked with overseeing the Pentagon’s policy arm.

In old tweets, Tata calls Obama a “terrorist leader” and says that a black CNN anchor was on the “liberal plantation.”

In a slew of old tweets, many of which were screenshotted by CNN before he deleted them, Tata expresses viciously Islamophobic sentiments and frequently accuses Obama of practicing radical Islam.

“No the point is that Obama is a Muslim who got other countries involved via corporate greed to support a regime (Mullahs) that sponsors anti West hatred and violence using money US unfroze or gave,” he wrote in one from July 2018. “He made no secret of his belief that a weaker America made for a stronger world.”

Tata also called the former President a “terrorist leader.”

He left behind a similarly damning trail of racist tweets, going after CNN anchor Don Lemon and Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA).

In 2018, he hashtagged a tweet supporting Trump supporters Diamond and Silk in their attack on Lemon with “liberal plantation.”

In another from the same year, he called Waters a “vicious race baiting racist who made her chops by fanning the flames of LA Riots after the Rodney King incident. Doubtful she’ll change from what has always worked for her and made her a multimillionaire. Media is scared to touch that third rail so she’ll keep on going.”

And in one still-posted tweet, he accuses Obama and Hillary Clinton of being guilty of sedition and/or treason.

Tata is up for a very important job — and one that recently came under pressure from the President. 

Should he be confirmed as Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, Tata would be number three at the Pentagon and in a role that dictates U.S. national security and defense strategy. He’d also be a top adviser to Defense Secretary Mark Esper.

The last person to hold this very prominent under secretary position was forced out by Trump after he warned against withholding military aid to Ukraine.

John Hood, who previously held the position, resigned at Trump’s behest in February. He had broken with the White House on multiple issues, including its decision to pull troops from Syria and its policy on Chinese tech giant Huawei.

Aside from the policy differences, though, Hood also reportedly had a habit of exploding at his underlings, which led to a mass exodus from the office.

Tata beat out another potential nominee by winning Trump’s affection through his frequent and adulatory Fox News appearances.

The nomination reportedly came down to Tata and Douglas Macgregor, a retired Army colonel. Both made frequent appearances on Fox News, but Tata proved more adept at securing the President’s attention and affection.

He even got a tweet for his efforts.

Tate bolstered his on-air compliments by penning glowing opinion pieces for Fox News’ website.

“President Trump is fulfilling campaign promises,” Tata wrote in 2019. “He is acting consistently with what he said he would do on the campaign trail. Ultimately, the president is a nationalist in the best sense of word — a patriot who wants the best for his nation and all our citizens — not someone hostile to other parts of the world, as the distorted leftist rewrite of the term falsely asserts.”

He was particularly vocal in his defense of the President for firing Navy Secretary Richard Spencer, who blocked the President from intervening in the legal case of former Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher.

He ended his 28-year Army career amid an investigation that found he’d cheated on his wife with “at least” two women and falsified a legal document. 

Tata retired in 2008 amid a haze of wrongdoing. Per the Raleigh News & Observer, which obtained his military records, a probe had found that he’d committed adultery with “at least two” women during his career, a criminal offense under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

And at the time of his departure, Pentagon officials were still asking questions about a phony court document he gave to investigators in 2007. The document was a forged 2001 domestic court order that accused his first wife of burdening him with unnecessary medical bills, since their daughter qualified for free military healthcare. It was later used against her in her complaint that he wasn’t sufficiently providing for their daughter.

Ultimately, Army leaders chose not to punish Tata for the adultery, which he admitted to, and did not pursue who forged the 2001 document. Instead, he was honored with the Army’s Distinguished Service Medal just before he left.

Democrats are fairly up in arms about the nomination, and even the Republican committee chairman is voicing some mild doubt.  

Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Gary Peters (D-MI) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) have all indicated that they will oppose the nomination.

“An Islamophobic conspiracy theorist who called President Obama a “terrorist leader” should not be #3 at the Pentagon,” Warren told TPM via a spokesperson. “Anthony Tata is by far Trump’s most unqualified & ill-suited senior defense nominee – a high bar. Senate Armed Services Committee Republicans shouldn’t even give him a hearing.”

Committee Chairman James Inhofe (R-OK), who did not respond to TPM’s questions, told CNN that Tata’s tweets had “got our attention.”

“I’ve heard the same thing you’ve heard and for that reason we’re going to make a decision,” he said when asked about plans to move ahead with the hearings and confirmation process. “I don’t want to say it disqualifies him and we’re not going to consider him, but I’m saying that got our attention.”

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