Gaetz Grills SecDef on Military Wokeism in Fiery Exchange

Gaetz Grills SecDef on Military Wokeism in Fiery Exchange

April 6, 2022

During a House Armed Services Committee hearing on Tuesday, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) grilled Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on military wokeness, prompting a fiery exchange between the two.

“Secretary Austin, why should American taxpayers fund lectures at the National Defense University that promote socialism as a strategy to combat China?” Gaetz asked, referring to a lecture in February given by French socialist Thomas Piketty on why socialism is the answer to combating China.

Austin responded, “The National Defense University is an academic institution, and I don’t know of any — of any such lecture.”

Gaetz called that response “surprising” since it was widely reported. He added, “Would you agree that embracing socialism is not an effective strategy to combat China?” Austin twice denied that he agreed with “embracing socialism.”

Gaetz also pointed out how the U.S. was also behind China and Russia on the development of hypersonic missiles. Austin asked him how he made that assessment. Gaetz retorted, “I make that assessment because Russia actually used one. By the way, your own people brief us that we are behind and that China is winning. Are you aware of the briefings we get on hypersonics?”

Austin answered testily, “I am certainly aware of briefings that we provide to Congress.”

Gaetz brought up China’s bullying of Taiwan and North Korea’s record missile testing over the past year.

“While everyone else in the world seems to be developing capabilities and being more strategic, we got time to embrace critical race theory at West Point, to embrace socialism at the National Defense University, to do mandatory pronoun training,” he said.

After Austin got defensive and accused Gaetz of being embarrassed by his country and military, Gaetz fired back, “Oh, no, no, I’m embarrassed by your leadership. I am not embarrassed for my country. I wish we were not losing to China.” He added:

That is so disgraceful that you would sit here and conflate your failures with the failures of the uniformed servicemembers. You guys said that — that Russia would overrun Ukraine in 36 days. You said that the Taliban would be kept at bay for months. You totally blew those calls. And maybe we would be better at them if the National Defense University actually worked a little more on strategy and a little less on wokeism.

“I saw that the Obama administration tried to destroy our military by starving it of resources. And it seems the Biden administration is trying to destroy our military by force-feeding it wokeism. I yield back,” Gaetz concluded.

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