Matt Gaetz Confronts Secretary of Defense Austin About Wokeism in the National Defense University During a Fiery Exchange

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    Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) sought an explanation from Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin for why the Pentagon’s National Defense University (NDU), supported by U.S. taxpayers, hosted a lecture in February explaining why socialism is the best option for defeating China. The lecture was delivered by French socialist Thomas Piketty to members of the military's future top leadership at the college.

    “Secretary Austin, why should American taxpayers fund lectures at the National Defense University that promote socialism as a strategy to combat China?” Gaetz asked.

    Austin replied, “The National Defense University is an academic institution, and I don't know of any–of any such lecture.”

    Gaetz called the reaction “surprising” since it was extensively covered. Gaetz added, “Would you agree that embracing socialism is not an effective strategy to combat China?”

    Austin stated that he “certainly” did not agree with “embracing socialism,” before the top Democrat chairman, Adam Smith (D-WA), tried to interrupt the debate. In response to further questions, Austin again denied embracing socialism.

    Gaetz asked Austin to explain why the Pentagon should be funded with President Biden's requested $773 billion when the Pentagon's leadership had made a mess of so many calls regarding strategy. “You guys told us that Russia couldn't lose. You told us that the Taliban couldn't immediately win. And so I guess I'm wondering, what in the $773 billion that you're requesting today is going to help you make assessments that are accurate in the face of so many blown calls?” Gaetz asked Austin.

    Austin initially tried to deny Austin’s claim, saying “You've seen how the budget matches our strategy, and so I'll let that speak for itself.”

    But things got worse from there. Gaetz also mentioned that his country, the United States, was behind China and Russia in the development of supersonic missiles. Austin asked Gaetz to explain how he arrived at the conclusion.

    Gaetz replied, “I make that assessment because Russia actually used one. By the way, your own people brief us that we are behind and that China is winning. Are you aware of the briefings we get on hypersonics?”

    Austin responded with a smile, “I am certainly aware of briefings that we provide to Congress.”

    Gaetz outlined China's repression in Taiwan along with North Korea's record-breaking missile tests in the last year. “While everyone else in the world seems to be developing capabilities and being more strategic, we got time to embrace critical race theory at West Point, to embrace socialism at the National Defense University, to do mandatory pronoun training.”

    After Austin became defensive and accused Gaetz of being ashamed of his military and country, Gaetz fired back, “Oh, no, no, I'm embarrassed by your leadership. I am not embarrassed for my country. I wish we were not losing to China.” Gaetz continued, “It's a disgrace to stand here and conflate your mistakes with those of uniformed soldiers. You said it was likely that Russia could take over Ukraine within 36 days. You claimed that the Taliban would be held in check for months. You completely blew them off. Perhaps we'd be more successful if we had National Defense University actually work on strategy and less on [wokeism].

    “I saw that the Obama Administration tried to destroy our military by starving it of resources. And it seems the Biden Administration is trying to destroy our military by force-feeding it wokeism. I yield back,” Gaetz concluded.

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