Matt Gaetz Sinks Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Amendment to Defense Bill: ‘This Is the Doubledown on Wokeness in the Military’

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 21: Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) speaks to reporters outside the West Wing of the White House following a meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump on April 21, 2020, in Washington, DC. The president met with lawmakers about the $482 billion aid package that would replenish a …
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Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) on Wednesday successfully fought a Democrat amendment to a defense bill that would have required defense contractors to report on the racial, ethnic, and gender diversity of their board of directors and submit their plans on diversity.

Gaetz, who has been a leading advocate in the House against wokeness in the military, tag-teamed with Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN), to kill the amendment, proposed by Rep. Anthony Brown (D-MD). The amendment would have required defense contractors with Pentagon contracts over $150,000 to produce these reports to Congress.

“This is a doubledown on wokeness in the military,” Gaetz argued. “It extends the wokeness in the military to a mandate on the private sector that supports the mission.”

He shared an anecdote about asking a Democrat in his district who is in the Research, Development, Test and Evaluation (RDT&E) space:

I asked him, at your company, what did you guys do for Pride Month? And he laughed at me and said, We’re in the munitions and missiles testing business, we just focus on our mission. And I said, Well, you better be ready to answer what you did for pride bond. How what’s your plan for, you know, minority board members by 2050 at a certain percentage or ratio? It’s just craziness, whether it’s in our military or in the private sector.

Gaetz warned Democrats on the House Armed Services Committee against supporting the amendment:

This will be the amendment that I see in the package that we will consider today that will drive Republicans off of this bill. And you know, you need Republicans to pass this bill on the floor. You may need a few to pass it in this committee. And if this is in there, I’m telling it’s going to be like the red flag laws last year. It will make it incredibly difficult to do the otherwise fantastic work that so many of us have contributed to this legislative product.

He also issued a warning to fellow Republicans:

This is precisely the type of amendment that should drive you off this bill. It really is. If this becomes law, we are waving the white flag of surrender on these issues. And I don’t want to have to explain to our colleagues on the floor how we let something like this get into a legislative bill on the floor of the House of Representatives. We should not do it. We should stand strong against this. And there are so many good things we can do without trying to mandate wokeism to defense contractors of all sides.

When HASC Chairman Adam Smith (D-WA) called a vote on the amendment, it failed 29-30, with fellow Floridian Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL), and Elaine Luria (D-VA), joining Republicans against the amendment.
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