Republican senator blasts Navy focusing on gender, sexuality amid recruitment crisis: ‘Bud Light moment’
Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., warned the U.S. Navy was threatening our national security by focusing on sailors’ sexuality and gender instead of addressing the dangerous drop in officer enlistment.
The Navy made headlines this week when news broke it had hired a non-binary officer to be its drag queen “Digital Ambassador” to draw new recruits.
Tuberville pointed out that the military branch was “on the decline” with historically low recruitment, aging aircraft, and poor shipyard conditions. Yet in its “preoccupation with woke identity politics” the Navy was putting forward nonbinary sailors and drag queens instead of addressing these problems, he wrote.
“What we’re doing right now isn’t working. The military is having a Bud Light moment,” Tuberville wrote in a blistering opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal.
The Republican argued that our “new national obsession” with sexuality would only hurt recruitment efforts.
“My concern is that our new national obsession with sexuality, race and gender is focused on self rather than on purpose, ability or service. I spent 40 years recruiting young men to play football. What the Navy is doing isn’t a good recruiting strategy,” he argued.
The drop in enlistment puts the country’s national security at risk as well, he argued, as China’s military expands.
“The Pentagon’s most recent China Military Power report shows that China’s army, navy and space assets are accelerating at a pace one American four-star admiral called ‘breathtaking.’ China already has the largest navy in the world and it’s getting larger,” Tuberville wrote.
Yet all U.S. military branches face an “unprecedented crisis of recruitment,” Tuberville claimed, pointing out that in the past fifty years of the all-volunteer force, the services have “never missed their recruitment goals” until 2022.
“The Army fell 15,000 recruits short of its goal last year – that’s an entire division. This is in addition to the 8,000 enlisted service members who were kicked out because they didn’t comply with President Biden’s vaccine mandate. Reports show this year’s recruiting may be even worse, with four of the six military branches on track to miss their recruitment goals,” he wrote.
Tuberville also pushed back against Democratic critics who accused him of risking national security by putting a hold on general promotions in protest of the Pentagon’s new abortion policy.
“Voting on each major military nomination shouldn’t be too much to ask of a U.S. senator, yet the idea has sent the Washington outrage machine into overdrive. With the military missing readiness and recruiting goals, perhaps it would be wise for Congress to scrutinize more closely the leaders at the very top. Are they part of the problem or part of the solution?” he asked.
On Wednesday news broke that Yeoman 2nd Class Joshua Kelley, who goes by the stage name “Harpy Daniels” and identifies as non-binary, was a “Digital Ambassador” in the Navy’s pilot program to attract new recruits.
The revelations set off explosive reactions from lawmakers and former members of the U.S. military alike.
“For America’s security, and for the security of the world, the U.S. military needs to remain the greatest the world has ever seen,” Tuberville wrote. “Secretary Austin and his Democratic allies in Congress need to wake up before it gets even worse.”
Fox News’ Brandon Gillespie contributed to this report.