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Pentagon and Fox’s Tucker Carlson are arguing over women in the military – here’s what’s going on

Tucker Carlson at a 2018 speech for Turning Point USA. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)
March 12, 2021

Fox News host Tucker Carlson drew criticism from the Pentagon this week after a Tuesday show segment in which he questioned the U.S. military’s priorities under President Joe Biden, who announced efforts to improve women’s uniforms, such as developing maternity flightsuits for pregnant service members.

“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,” Carlson said Tuesday. “The bottom line is, it’s out of control and the Pentagon is going along with this.”

Tucker’s comments drew a response numerous military officials.

“I want to be very clear right up front that the diversity of our military is one of our greatest strengths,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby, a retired Navy admiral, said on Thursday. “I’ve seen it for myself in long months at sea and in the combat waged by our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. I’ve seen it up on Capitol Hill just this past month, and I see it every day here right at the Pentagon. One of the best decisions I ever made was becoming a Navy spouse myself; married to a terrific young naval officer who gave birth to our first child, and then went right back to work doing civil engineering for an airbase in Jacksonville.”

Kirby added, “What we absolutely won’t do is take personnel advice from a talk show host or the Chinese military.”

Other current military officials also joined in denouncing Carlson.

Fort Benning commanding general, Gen. Patrick Donahoe tweeted, “This is me, yesterday, conducting a re-enlistment for one of the tens of thousands of women who serve in our Army. Just a reminder that @TuckerCarlson couldnt be more wrong.”

Gen. Paul E. Funk, the commander of the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command, tweeted, “I agree Pat. 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.

The Pentagon later highlighted Kirby’s comments in a press release titled “Press Secretary Smites Fox Host That Dissed Diversity in U.S. Military.”

Carlson doubled down on his comments about the military on his show Thursday night. Carlson said he harbors no bias against pregnant women in the military

“Maybe pregnant women make the best pilots,” Carlson said. “The Department of Defense measures everything, so there’s got to be extensive research on this question. If the Pentagon can show that pregnant pilots are the best, we will be the first to demand an entire air force of pregnant pilots. The problem is we’re pretty confident that Joe Biden hasn’t asked to see those numbers. We’d bet money that Joe Biden never even thought to ask.”

Carlson said Biden’s main priority as president is identity politics, which he said is fine in some instances, but “is not fine if your only job is to protect the United States from people who want to kill the rest of us. That is the worst kind of dereliction of duty.”

Carlson went on to question another Biden-era policy of having the Pentagon cover the cost of transgender surgery.

“How do sex changes in the military make this country safer?” Carlson asked. “That’s not a trick question. It’s not another volley in the culture war. It’s the only question that matters. Literally, the only question that matters. The U.S. military exists to fight and win wars. That’s its only purpose.”