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‘Woke’ ideology destroying military morale, meritocracy, fmr. Trump VA sec says

Then-Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie speaks at a press briefing at the White House on May 17, 2018, in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)
September 29, 2021

“Woke” ideology is undermining the U.S. military’s morale, meritocracy and readiness, according to Robert Wilkie, who served as the secretary for the Department of Veterans Affairs under President Donald Trump.

In an interview with Breitbart News on Tuesday, Wilkie said, “The woke agenda is probably the most corrosive and pernicious thing the military has encountered in decades” adding, “In fact, I can’t think of anything more destructive than what we’re seeing now, and the politicization of the officer corps.”

Wilkie described the military as the “greatest leveler” in American society.

“It doesn’t matter where you come from [or] what you look like. If you perform, you’re accepted,” Wilkie said. “And they’re destroying that and they’re turning the military into a political cauldron where now soldiers and sailors and airmen and Marines are looking over their shoulders, either worried about somebody reporting them for something that they might have said, or didn’t say — or the opposite: they’re telling on their comrades.”

“That’s what’s going to destroy morale,” he added.

Wilkie shared further concerns about how President Joe Biden’s administration would deal with the VA.

“[The Trump administration’s VA reforms] are not going to be sustained,” Wilkie said. “The ability to get rid of bad actors is going away, if it hasn’t already gone away. And the union chiefs are back in charge, and that means veterans issues [and] interests are not put front and center. That’s really, to me, the most glaring and immediate warning for what’s to come at VA, and that’s a very sad thing.”

Wilkie also criticized Biden VA Secretary Denis McDonough for his focus on providing gender reassignment surgeries to transgender veterans.

“When the [VA] secretary says his first four goals are transgender rights, union authorities, diversity, and telework policy, there’s one word missing from all of those imperatives: veterans,” Wilkie said.

Wilkie’s comments come after several high-profile military endorsements of racially charged diversity training and reading materials.

In February, Republican lawmakers began to raise questions about the inclusion of controversial racial reading materials on the Navy’s official reading list. One book on the list, “How to Be an Antiracist” by Ibram X. Kendi, promotes the idea of using intentional racial discrimination as a means of correcting past racial discrimination and disparities. In his book, Kendi states, “The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination, the only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination.”

Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Mike Gilday has defended the inclusion of Kendi’s book on the Navy reading list, saying, “There is racism in the Navy just like there’s racism in our country, and the way we’re going to get after it is to be honest about it, not to sweep it under the rug, and talk about it.”

Speaking on the topic of the controversial teaching of critical race theory, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said, “I do think it’s important, actually, for those of us in uniform to be open-minded and be widely read.” Milley then went on to say “I want to understand white rage. And I’m white, and I want to understand it. So, what is it that caused thousands of people to assault this building, and try to overturn the Constitution of the United States of America? What caused that? I want to find that out.”

A sailor who sat for an interview for a recently released report on the “Fighting Culture of the Navy’s Surface Fleet,” said, “Sometimes I think we care more about whether we have enough diversity officers than if we’ll survive a fight with the Chinese navy. It’s criminal. They think my only value is as a black woman. But you cut our ship open with a missile and we’ll all bleed the same color.”