During a House Committee hearing on national defense, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin clashed with Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) after the Florida Republican accused the US armed forces of embracing “woke-ism” and focusing too much on diversity training.
During the exchange, Gaetz accused the American military of wasting taxpayer funds on lectures on socialism and diversity, and Austin became frustrated by his line of questioning and frequent interruptions.
“Well, I certainly don’t agree with embracing socialism,” Austin said, before Gaetz cut him off, promoting Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-WA) to reprimand Gaetz and asked him to let the secretary finish his answers.
“I control the time, Mr. Chairman,” Gaetz shot back. “I got the answer I wanted,” he added before moving to a “follow-up” question.
“My follow-up question, if we don’t embrace it, why did the National Defense University put out a statement saying in this talk he will argue that the right answer lies in ending Western arrogance and promoting a new egalitarian horizon on a global scale, a new form of ecological and post-colonial socialism. So why would we invite people we don’t agree with to evangelize views and values that we don’t share at the National Defense University when we should be learning strategy about how to combat our enemies and make assessments that are accurate?”
Austin explained that the military was constantly studying strategy and joint force development, but he wasn’t sure of the context of this particular lecture, and Gaetz jumped in again.
“Mr. Secretary, I’ve shared with you the context,” Gaetz said raising his voice. “The context wasn’t to better understand socialism so we can defeat it, the context wasn’t learn about it so that we can offer countermeasures. The concept was that it’s time for socialism, and the reason I know that’s the context is because the lecture was pulled from a book written entitled Time for Socialism.”
Austin tried to get clarity on what Gaetz was asking, and the lawmaker kept on talking over the Secretary.
“I control the time,” Gaetz said again. “You guys have been blowing a lot of calls lately on matters of strategy, Mr. Secretary. You guys told us that Russia couldn’t lose, that the Taliban couldn’t immediately win. I guess I’m wondering, what about the $773 billion that you’re requesting today is going to help you make assessments that are accurate in the face of so many blown calls?”
“The fact that you’re embarrassed by your country,” an exasperated Austin said. “That’s what you’re saying.”
Gaetz interjected by saying: “Maybe we would be better at home if the National Defense University actually worked a little more on strategy and a little less on woke-ism. That was baked into your flawed assessment. I saw that the Obama administration tried to starve our military and it seems the Biden administration is trying to starve our military by force-feeding it woke-ism.”
Watch the exchange in the video below