‘Dangerous Precedent:’ House GOP Leader Calls for Halt to Politicization of Military

March 16, 2021 Updated: March 16, 2021

The top Republican in the House of Representatives on Monday called for a halt to what he described as politicization of the military.

“Uniformed service members recently criticized a private citizen for his First Amendment rights, & today a Dem lawmaker used soldiers in a political stunt against a GOP member,” Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) wrote in a social media statement.

McCarthy tagged Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin before adding: “This sets a dangerous precedent. It must stop now.”

The military is forbidden from getting involved in politics while in uniform but multiple members recently criticized Tucker Carlson of Fox News after Carlson critiqued the military’s focus on including women, arguing that it would be best for it to spend more time combating rivals like China.

Additionally, on Monday Rep. Michael F.Q. San Nicolas (D-Guam) took uniformed National Guard members with him to confront Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) at her office, after Greene reportedly suggested last month that Guam was not a part of the United States.

Greene wasn’t in her office but San Nicolas asked a staffer to speak to Guard personnel. The staffer did so.

Maj. Gen. Esther Aguigui, adjutant general of the Guam National Guard, told The Epoch Times in an emailed statement that “we appreciate Congressman San Nicolas’ efforts to represent our culture of Inafa’ Maolek, or bringing harmony, practiced here in Guam.”

“We also thank Congresswoman Greene for ultimately helping raise awareness of Guamanians as citizens of the United States, and our rich tradition of service and sacrifice to our nation. As a non-partisan entity, the Guam National Guard is here to continue this legacy of supporting and defending the Constitution of the United States and the freedoms it provides. We will continue to be always ready and always there, to serve our great nation and contribute to a fair, prosperous, compassionate, and safe Guam,” she added.

The Pentagon declined to respond directly to McCarthy. The Department of Defense’s inspector general declined to say whether it was probing either situation.

Greene said via email that “It’s time for our great men and women of the National Guard to go home from Washington DC and be with their families.”

“The Democrats need to stop using them as political theatre and drama on Capitol Hill. Shame on Democrats for disrespecting our military,” she added.

The office of San Nicolas didn’t return an inquiry.

Other members of Congress have also questioned the military’s recent actions, which included issuing a press release that critics said distorted Carlson’s comments.

The Pentagon alleged that Carlson “used his show to denigrate the contributions of women in the military and to say the Chinese military is catching up to the U.S. military because it does not allow women to serve in the percentage the United States does.”

Carlson during a recent show pointed to President Joe Biden talking about designing military flight suits and easing hairstyle restrictions in a bid to have women feel safe and respected in the military.

“It’s a mockery of the U.S. military. While China’s military becomes more masculine as it’s assembled the world’s largest navy, our military needs to become, as Joe Biden says, more feminine, whatever feminine means anymore since men and women no longer exist. The bottom line is, it’s out of control, and the Pentagon is going along with this,” Carlson said.

Attacks were lobbed by the Pentagon’s press secretary, a top Space Force official, and a number of other military members in return. Through the spokesman, Austin also expressed disdain for Carlson’s comments.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has said he requested a meeting with the head of the Marine Corps after the Marines joined in the attacks, telling one social media user to “come back when you’ve served and been pregnant” and using a pejorative against Carlson.

The Marine Corps later deleted the tweets.

Cruz told Austin in a letter that he’s “deeply troubled” by the situation, accusing the Pentagon of mobilizing “systematic, public attacks” against Carlson.

A Pentagon spokesperson told The Epoch Times via email, “As with all congressional correspondence, the secretary will respond directly to the author of the letter as appropriate.”

The Senate had to approve a waiver for Austin, a retired general, to serve as the defense secretary. During confirmation hearings, he told senators that he understood concerns they had and that “the safety and security of our democracy demands competent civilian control of our armed forces.”

“If you confirm me, I can assure you the Pentagon under my leadership will respect your oversight responsibilities. We will be forthcoming and transparent,” he added.

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