A number of high-ranking military officers are using their official social media accounts to denounce Fox News host Tucker Carlson over recent claims that maternity flight suits for pregnant fliers and new directives that loosen hair regulations to accommodate females in the ranks are “making a mockery” of the U.S. military.
And top Pentagon leaders said Thursday they’re perfectly fine with the new online activism from several general officers and the Army’s top enlisted soldier against a TV commentator.
On his popular show that aired Tuesday, Mr. Carlson said Chinese military officials are pushing for their armed forces to toughen up while the Pentagon is more focused on programs aimed at increasing diversity and inclusion in the military — such as updating hair regulations and testing flight suits for pregnant women.
“While China’s military becomes ‘more masculine’ as it assembles 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,” Mr. Carlson said. “The bottom line is, it’s out of control and the Pentagon is going along with this.”
On Thursday, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby fired back at his briefing with reporters.
“The diversity of our military is one of our greatest strengths. I’ve seen it for myself in long months at sea and in the combat waged by our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Mr. Kirby, a retired Navy admiral and military spouse himself.
He said Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin “shares the revulsion” of many others over Mr. Carlson‘s comments.
“What we absolutely won’t do is take personnel advice from a talk show host or the Chinese military,” he said.
On his official Twitter account, Gen. Paul E. Funk, the commander of the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command, said thousands of women serve honorably every day around the globe.
“They are beacons of freedom and they prove Carlson wrong through determination and dedication. We are fortunate they serve with us,” Gen. Funk wrote.
Sgt. Major of the Army Michael Grinston, the service’s most senior enlisted soldier, wrote on his own official Twitter account Mr. Carlson‘s comment “are divisive [and] don’t reflect our values.” And Maj. Gen. Patrick Donahoe, commander of Fort Benning, Ga., tweeted a video that showed him conducting a reenlistment ceremony for a female soldier.
“Just a reminder that Tucker Carlson couldn’t be more wrong,” he added.
It is unusual for supposedly apolitical senior military leaders to issue a public condemnation of a TV host for a segment they disliked. While their comments may not have been countenanced during the previous administration, Mr. Kirby said Secretary Lloyd Austin, “doesn’t have concerns about their willingness to do that.”
The Fox News host should note the reaction he is receiving from top military brass and “express some regret” about his comments, the Pentagon spokesman said.
“He essentially demeaned the entire U.S. military and how we defend and how we serve this country,” Mr. Kirby said.
Officials at the Fox News Channel did not respond to a request for comment.