Republican lawmakers in charge of funding the U.S. military addressed claims this week that there is “woke” political bias against conservatives in the armed forces.
Multiple prominent Republicans on the House and Senate Armed Services Committees slammed cancel culture and woke ideology that they claim may be contributing to biases against service members who identify as conservative.
The criticism by Republicans comes after a commander in the U.S. Space Force, Lt. Colonel Matthew Lohmeier, was relieved of his official duties last week after he spoke out against Marxism and critical race theory in the military. As a result, lawmakers are warning about the dangers of an increasingly politicized environment within the armed services.
House Armed Services Committee member Rep. Lisa McClain, R-Mich., decried cancel culture as “getting out of hand” and said that she was supporting legislation to ensure that American troops aren’t being indoctrinated into woke culture, which is more intolerant of conservative beliefs and values.
“Freedom of speech is one of the founding principles of our country, and right now, our military servicemembers’ careers are in jeopardy if they dare to be conservative,” McClain told Fox News on Thursday. “This cancel culture is getting out of control and it’s seeping into every aspect of American life.”
“The military monitoring social media content of its servicemembers is extremely problematic and anyone who believes in freedom of speech should be outraged,” she continued. “I cosponsored the Combatting Racist Training in the U.S. Military Act to ensure divisive, un-American ideas aren’t rammed down the throats of our troops.”
Republican Study Committee chairman and House Armed Services Committee member Jim Banks, R-Ind., told Fox News on Thursday that he thinks the military should focus all energy on being the best fighting force on the planet.
“Call me old fashioned, but I think the military should be 100% focused on being the best fighting force it can be to counter our adversaries like the Chinese Communist Party or Russia and stop entertaining Left-wing social experiments,” Banks said.
Rep. Pat Fallon, R-Texas, another member of the committee, told Fox News that America needs to have warriors, not “social justice warriors,” in the military to survive.
“Democrats and Republicans alike must reject the radical left’s dangerous, partisan, woke, progressive agenda for our military,” Fallon told Fox News on Thursday. “Our servicemembers and the entire country deserve so much better. America cannot survive if we care more for social justice warriors than our actual warriors.”
Freshman Rep. Madison Cawthorn, R-N.C., said that political “pandering has no place in the classroom or our military,” in a statement to Fox News.
“Remember when Americans portrayed peace through strength?” Cawthorn said in a statement. “Now our military believes in peace through token diversity. We should be prioritizing the recruitment of the fiercest, most intelligent warriors the world has ever seen, no matter who they are.”
“Not ‘woke’ multiculturalism,” Cawthorn added.
House Armed Services Committee ranking member Mike Rogers, R-Ala., released a statement on Saturday saying he is “greatly concerned by numerous press reports” about conservatives in the Department of Defense (DOD) and the military having their voices “silenced” while leadership “defends and protects left-leaning voices.”
“The United States Armed Forces should be focused on preparing to face and win any battles against the threats posed by China and other foreign adversaries and not imposing political beliefs on those who chose to serve in uniform,” Rogers said.
The Alabama Republican said that he and other Republicans “regularly” hear from service members about how being a conservative can “endanger” their careers and called for the issue to be addressed in this year’s defense authorization bill.
Additionally, first term Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., — who sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee — sent a letter with colleagues Sens. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin blasting the military’s recent anti-extremism training.
“An examination of the stand-down training materials reveals a disappointing partisan slant and poorly-defined First Amendment rights for military members,” the letter read.
“We cannot allow the military to be politicized,” the senators wrote.
Senator Ted Cruz, R-Texas, weighed in on Twitter, tweeting that perhaps “a woke, emasculated military is not the best idea.”
After Space Force Lt. Colonel Lohmeier was relieved of duty, Republicans rushed to his defense and praised him for his bravery.
Republicans backed the commander, and a number of lawmakers — including Reps. Byron Donalds, R-Fla., and Andy Biggs, R-Ari., — lauded Lohmeier as a “hero” for speaking out against communism in the U.S. military.
“Lt. Col. Matthew Lohmeier is a hero, not only for putting on the uniform every day to defend our nation but also to defend the freedoms of the leftist mob attempting to cancel him,” Donalds wrote on Twitter on the news of Lohmeier’s relief from duty. “[Critical race theory] should have no place in our classrooms, Armed Forces, or country as a whole.”
Two dozen Republicans sent a letter to the acting secretary of the Space Force on Wednesday, demanding that the recently dismissed commander be reinstated.
Fox News’ Brittany De Lea contributed to this report.