A House Democrat running in the Arizona senatorial primary says the U.S. military’s embrace of LGBTQ and other left-wing cultural fundamentals is no different than the Ukrainian military’s values.
Rep. Ruben Gallego criticized Republicans who loaded up the National Defense Authorization Act with measures that countered LGBT and abortion policies within the Defense Department.
“The young population that you want to recruit is not 80% white and southern. It is very, very multicultural. It’s Latino, Afro-American, Asian, immigrant, gay, women, and making it accepting and welcoming is going to be important for you to recruit them,” he said during a Pod Save America interview.
Mr. Gallego said that if the military appears as “like a good old boys network,” it’s less likely to get some qualified people.
“What I think is funny is like these guys, the DeSantises of the world, the Cruzes of the world, their example of the archtype like strongman anti-woke is Russia,” he said, adding, “Russia is getting their asses kicked by a woke Ukrainian army that is open to everybody. … And it’s getting its ass kicked by people wearing earrings and talking about their partner.”
The House passed the NDAA by a vote of 219-210. Four Democrats supported it, while four Republicans voted against it. The House’s legislation has an uphill battle in the Senate.
The House bill includes amendments that restrict abortion, eliminate funding of transgender transition treatment, and abolish diversity equity inclusion programs and staff.
Republicans say that woke programs mandated by the Defense Department are hurting military recruitment and readiness.
With the exception of the Marine Corps, each service expects to fall short of its recruiting goals in fiscal 2023. The Army expects to be 10,000 soldiers short of its recruiting goal, service officials told Congress in April. The Navy is on track to fall 6,000 short. The Air Force will miss its mark by 10,000, officials said.
The Army, Navy and Air Force offer enlistment bonuses to entice recruits. Incentives that once made military service attractive are matched by private-sector employers equally desperate to fill job vacancies.
According to a recent Gallup poll, Americans’ confidence in the military is at 60%. The last time it was that low was in 1997, and it hasn’t been lower since 1988, when 58% were confident.
Mr. Gallego criticized Sen. Tommy Tuberville, Alabama Republican, for holding up military nominations and promotions over an abortion policy announced by the Defense Department late last year.
“Women that need abortion care, and if they’re in a state that doesn’t provide that, are now not going to be able to take paid time off that they’ve earned to travel to a state to receive that abortion care for whatever reason it is,” he said. “Tommy, probably getting knocked too many times around the head, has decided to block a lot of the promotions of some of our top leaders.”
The Washington Times reached out to Mr. Tuberville’s office for a response.
After the Supreme Court overturned the nationwide right to abortion, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin issued a policy last October to let troops and dependents use official travel to reach states that allow abortions.
Mr. Tuberville contends the Pentagon has violated the Hyde Amendment, which restricts federal spending on abortions.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, said in May that he opposes Mr. Tuberville’s blockade. Other GOP senators are urging him to drop the holds, although many conservatives back his position.