Republicans Defend Tucker Carlson’s Right to Criticize Biden’s Pentagon Reforms

Tucker Carlson, host of "Tucker Carlson Tonight," poses for photos in a Fox News Channel s
AP/Richard Drew

A group of Republicans in the House and Senate are backing up Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s right to criticize President Joe Biden over cultural experiments at the Pentagon.

Carlson criticized Biden for highlighting reforms that would, for example, provide for maternity flight suits and new hair style requirements for women. Carlson argued that while the Biden Pentagon is trying to make our military more feminine, China is building a more masculine fighting force. In an unprecedented move, a number of top military leaders took to social media to attack a media figure for his comments on the military.

Many observers — including those in the military — were shocked, since it is unusual for military leaders to directly dispute or target specific media figures for their political commentary. The leaders argued they were defending their sisters in arms, despite Carlson directing his commentary toward Biden’s focus on reforms rather than women in the military.

After widespread attention, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) sent Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin a letter Sunday regarding the numerous statements made on social media by active duty members of the military. He wrote:

I am deeply troubled that the commitments you made, and the military’s broader obligation to avoid political endorsements and controversy, are being systematically undermined for the sake of leftwing ideology and political expediency. The last week has witnessed the Pentagon mobilize systematic, public attacks against television host Tucker Carlson that in substance, tone, and political resonance are inexplicably inappropriate.

This spectacle risks politicizing the military after several centuries of efforts to keep military officials out of domestic affairs, undermining civil-military relations by having the military take a side in a contentious cultural dispute, and the perception that military leaders are happily weaponizing the institution against political critics of the sitting administration. This kind of behavior, while perhaps typical in a military-controlled Third World country, is completely unacceptable in the United States of America.

One Marine Corps Twitter account apologized for its tweets attacking Carlson. After Cruz’s letter mentioned them directly, the account deleted the tweets entirely.

Progressive veterans attacked Cruz for his letter as well.

VoteVets tweeted: “Looks as though @tedcruz will stand up for @TuckerCarlson berating women in uniform over standing up for our troops. Not at all surprising from a seditionist who still continues to stand by a traitor.”

Cruz reaffirmed his stance on Monday, tweeting: “This kind of behavior, while perhaps typical in a military-controlled Third World country, is completely unacceptable in the United States of America.”

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) tweeted: “Instead of having online wars with talk show hosts, our senior Pentagon officials should spend their time getting out of the endless wars they always want to wage.”

Republican Study Committee Chairman Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN), a Naval reservist and senior Republican member of the House Armed Services Committee, also weighed in on the military leaders’ responses to Carlson.

“The U.S. Navy has 297 ships, China has 360 ships & Fox News has 0. Our DoD should focus on military threats, not political enemies of the Democrat party. @PentagonPresSec.”

Fellow Navy veteran Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-TX) also expressed support for Carlson.

“.@TuckerCarlson is right! The U.S. Military does NOT exist to serve as a social experiment for the far left. It exists to DEFEND US from our enemies, not to be used as a political weapon for enemies of the Biden Administration,” he tweeted.

“Tucker has a right to his opinion without Active Duty Military leaders attacking him from official DoD accounts. Unprofessional!” he added.

Lastly, he said:

Air Force veteran Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT) also weighed in.

“Reminder to my brothers and sisters in uniform: The military is supposed to stay out of political discussions. It’s not your job to be political news commentators. It’s not your job to attack private citizens you disagree with,” he tweeted.

“I don’t care what anyone says about our military, pro or con, especially what one news commentator says. But, I care deeply about politicizing our military. It’s dangerous and a violation of oath,” he said.

He added: “How about China policy? Should you comment on that? Withdrawing from the Middle East? NATO dues? Stay above it. Prepare to fight. Prepare for the mission.”

Army veteran Rep. Rick Crawford (R-AR) called the military leaders’ responses “unconscionable.”

“Unconscionable that active duty military members – in uniform and from official military social media platforms – have leveled personal political attacks on a media figure. This is no longer the same military my grandfather, my father, my uncles, my brothers and I served,” he tweeted.

Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC), who represents a military-heavy state, tweeted: “Very unfortunate situation. This would never happen under the Trump Admin.”

“I commend @tedcruz’s efforts in addressing these attacks on @TuckerCarlson & other citizens,” he added.

J.D. Vance, author of Hillbilly Elegy and Marine veteran who may be eyeing a run for Senate, tweeted: “We should eliminate the university degree requirement from the officer corps. It’s dumb to make people get a BA before becoming officers anyway, and it may just make the military leadership less woke.”

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