Senior military leaders have condemned the viral comments made by Tucker Carlson on his show about women in uniform. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said Thursday that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin shares the “revulsion” many high-ranking leaders have expressed about the monologue.
Carlson said during his show Tuesday that new grooming standards and inclusive military uniforms for women mocked the US military. In a monologue, Carlson said that China’s armed forces have become “more masculine,” while “our armed forces must become, as Joe Biden puts it, more feminine.”
On Monday, International Women’s Day, President Joe Biden introduced the nominees for the combatant commandos who would be the second and third women to lead the combatant commandos. He spoke about measures the military is taking, such as updating grooming standards, such as allowing short ponytails, to make the environment for all forces more inclusive.
Carlson called these measures a “mockery of the US military.”
Kirby said Thursday that “what we absolutely will not do is take personal advice from a talk show host or the Chinese military.”
Kirby was asked if Carlson should apologize, and Kirby said he hopes Carlson realizes the mistake he’s made in comments that “essentially degraded the entire American military and how we defend and serve this country.”
Carlson responded with a nine-minute monologue Thursday night, saying that “the Department of Defense launched a large and coordinated public relations offensive against this program.”
“Since when did the Pentagon declare war on a national news operation? I can’t remember that ever happening,” Carlson said.
Other senior members of the US military weighed in on Carlson’s comments Thursday. In a viral clip, United States Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant Major Scott Stalker, the Enlisted Leader of the United States Space Command, said that Carlson’s opinion “is actually based on zero days in the military. “. He also called on the military to “get back to work” and said “let’s remember that those opinions were made by an individual who has never served a day in his life.”
“Let me offer you my opinion, my opinion is based on 28 years of actual service in the military, 28 years in the Marine Corps and combat operations at sea and in Garrison,” he said. “And he was talking specifically about pregnant women in the military today and how it makes us less lethal and less fit and less prepared. Let me tell you where he’s wrong. Those decisions were made by medical professionals, commanders, and our civilian leadership that enables women have more time with their children, recover, get fit and prepare, take that time that is necessary that our medical professionals know it is necessary, which actually makes us a more lethal force and smart and fit. Ready to fit into the wars of today and tomorrow. ”
On Twitter, the US Army did not directly respond to Carlson’s comments, but posted a picture of a woman in uniform with the caption “I am an American soldier. I will never accept defeat. I will never give up.”
Numerous female veterans responded to Carlson’s comments on Twitter, including Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth, who was one of the first women in the Army to fly combat missions during the Iraq War.
“F *** Tucker Carlson,” Duckworth tweeted from his campaign account.
While deployed to Iraq in 2004, Duckworth piloted a helicopter that was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG). Duckworth lost both legs and partial use of his right arm in the incident.
“While practicing her two steps, American warriors were pursuing Al Qaeda and demonstrating the strength of American women,” Duckworth. tweeted, referencing Carlson’s appearance on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” in 2006. “Happy belated International Women’s Day to all but Tucker, even I can dance better than.”
Twitter user Heather Tregle, who, according to her bio, is an officer with the Attorney General’s Office of the Army Judge (JAG), said that being a mother while serving “is not a joke of the military.”
“I had 2 children while serving in the Army, I was sent to 2 combat zones, I advised commanders at home and in warfare, and I graduated from the Naval War College,” he said. “I can assure you, my presence is not a mockery of the military. If you are looking for a mockery, look in the mirror.”
Another person tweeted that her comments “upset her a lot” and took the opportunity to post a photo of her from October 1999, when she was in Army basic training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina.
Gen. Jacqueline Van Ovost, commander of the Air Mobility Command at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois, did not refer directly to Carlson, but instead tweeted about female Air Force members who have served.
“There are almost 70,000 qualified and great women #USAF #Airmen”, Van Ovost tweeted. “Over the years we have and will continue to evolve, shedding outdated policies that prevent ANY woman from reaching her full potential.”
“Inclusion is our strength,” the general tweeted, “it will be the difference between winning and losing.”
Van Ovost is Biden’s choice to lead the US Transportation Command. In announcing Van Ovost and his choice to the US Southern Command, Lt. Gen. Laura Richardson, Mr. Biden said: ” We need girls and boys, who have grown up dreaming of serving their country, to know that this is what the generals in the United States Armed Forces look like. ”