Sen. Tom Cotton claimed he had received hundreds of whistleblower complaints as he grilled Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin about the Pentagon’s diversity training, which he described as ‘anti-American indoctrination.’
He repeatedly cut off America’s first Black defense secretary as Austin tried to offer context about anti-racism training in the armed forces during a Senate hearing.
Cotton has been a dogged opponent of the effort, introducing a bill to ban so-called critical race theory from the military.
And he set up a website for whistleblower complaints earlier this month.
During the hearing, he listed some of the examples reported. He said a Marine officer claimed military history teaching had been replaced with lessons on police brutality.
And another said his unity was tasked with reading White Fragility, by Robin DiAngelo, which was criticized for putting white Americans on the defensive.
‘Mr. Secretary, we’re hearing reports of plummeting morale, growing mistrust between the races and sexes, where none existed just six months ago, and unexpected retirements and separations based on these trainings alone,’ Cotton said.
Sen. Tom Cotton claimed to have received hundreds of complaints from armed forces personnel complaining about diversity training. ‘We’re hearing reports of plummeting morale, growing mistrust between the races and sexes, where none existed just six months ago, and unexpected retirements and separations based on these trainings alone,’ he said
Cotton repeatedly cut off Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin as he tried to answer questions about diversity training, which the senator dismissed as ‘anti-American indoctrination’
With Rep. Dan Crenshaw, Cotton launched a whistleblower form for military members to report anything they considered to be far-left training materials last month
CRITICAL RACE THEORY: The divisive concept that portrays racism as the foundation of American institutions
The fight over critical race theory in schools has escalated in the United States over the last year.
The theory has sparked a fierce nationwide debate in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests around the country over the last year and the introduction of the 1619 Project.
The 1619 Project, which was published by the New York Times in 2019 to mark 400 years since the first enslaved Africans arrived on American shores, reframes American history by ‘placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the center of the US narrative’.
The debate surrounding critical race theory regards concerns that some children are being indoctrinated into thinking that white people are inherently racist or sexist.
Those against critical race theory have argued it reduces people to the categories of ‘privileged’ or ‘oppressed’ based on their skin color.
Supporters, however, say the theory is vital to eliminating racism because it examines the ways in which race influence American politics, culture and the law.
‘And again, these are not my words. These are the words of your own troops.’
He then asked for a yes or no on whether the secretary believed the armed forces were a ‘racist organization.
‘I won’t give you a yes-or-no answer on that, senator, because it deserves more than a yes or no,” said Austin.
‘The military, like any organization, will have its challenges, but I do not believe it is a fundamentally racist organization.’
He was cut off by Cotton who then repeated his demand for a yes-or-no response about where service personnel should be treated differently based on sex or skin color.
‘Again, this question deserves more than a yes-or-no answer,’ Austin replied.
Pushed, he said: ‘I do not believe that, and that is why we have diversity, equity, and inclusion focus in the military.’
Cotton took exception.
‘This is not about diversity, this is about a very specific kind of anti-American indoctrination that is seeping into some parts of our military based on the whistleblower complaints we have received,’ he said.
Cotton moved on to claim Pentagon reading lists included publications on ‘critical race theories’ – a way of understanding American history as a history of racism.
He asked whether Austin agreed with a quote from How to be an Antiracist by Ibrahm X. Kendi that the the ‘only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination.
‘I’ve not read that and I certainly don’t agree with what you just said, but I…” he said before Cotton tried to interrupt.
‘It’s always important to have the full context of anything that you’re being asked to evaluate,’ he continued.
Austin has emphasized the importance of tackling extremism in the armed forces after veterans were among those arrested after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
But he finds himself under attack and on the frontlines of the country’s culture wars, targeted by conservatives who see efforts to build a more diverse fighting force as an exercise in ‘wokeness’.
Sen. Ted Cruz triggered a viral row when he shared an animated recruitment video telling the story of how Emma Malonelord grew up with two mothers, marched with LQBTQ campaigners before joining the U.S. army.
The advertising campaign shows an animated Corporal Emma Malonelord (pictured) attending a gay rights parade in a video that sparked a row about the future of the American military. Sen. Ted Cruz said it showed how Democrats and the ‘woke media’ were turning soldiers into ‘pansies’ in comments that triggered accusations that he was trolling America’s troops
He accused ‘woke, lefty bureaucrats’ of turning the military into ‘pansies.’
‘Holy crap,” Cruz said, sharing a mashup of the video with another clip showing a shaven-headed Russian male soldier. “Perhaps a woke, emasculated military is not the best idea …’
Last month Rep. Dan Crenshaw and Cotton launched a whistleblower form for military members to report anything they considered to be far-left training materials.
Crenshaw wrote on Twitter: ‘Enough is enough. We won’t let our military fall to woke ideology. We have just launched a whistleblower webpage where you can submit your story. Your complaint will be legally protected, and go to my office and @SenTomCotton’.
He shared a link to the whistleblower form, and added: ‘For too long, progressive Pentagon staffers have been calling the shots for our warfighters, and spineless military commanders have let it happen. Now we are going to expose you.’