Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin backs the probe into a military officer who compared then-President Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler last year, the Pentagon said on Monday.
Gen. Richard Clarke, commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command, notified Austin of the investigation, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby told reporters in Washington. Austin supports officials looking more deeply into the matter.
“Obviously, we take the need to promote diversity and inclusion seriously here in the department,” Kirby said. “The secretary has spoken of that many times. And we certainly want that work to be transparent, to be credible, to be effective and, of course, professional. We want everybody to take those duties and those responsibilities seriously and professionally.”
Kirby said he would not comment further, pending the outcome of the investigation.
A spokesperson for the command told The Epoch Times over the weekend that officials were not aware of the radical social media posts from Richard Torres-Estrada, who was recently hired as the command’s chief of diversity and inclusion.
“Now that we are aware of the situation we are looking into it,” the spokesperson said.
Torres-Estrada hasn’t responded to requests for comment.
In one post, Torres-Estrada used a manipulated image showing Hitler holding a Bible juxtaposed with a picture of Trump holding a Bible. In another post, an image of Trump was emblazoned with negative statements from former Trump administration officials.
Torres-Estrada also expressed support for the quasi-Marxist theory of equity and shared a post denigrating Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).
Clarke told members of Congress during a hearing last week that work on diversifying the force is “an operational imperative.”
“In a force charged with solving multifaceted problems in a complex global environment, service members who are included, respected, and empowered are more ready to deter aggression and win wars. We developed a five-year diversity and inclusion strategy and hired a chief diversity and inclusion officer,” he said, adding that officials “are absolutely committed to finding and removing barriers where they exist, and welcome all service members who have the desire and aptitude to pursue a career” in special operations forces.