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DeSantis Blasts Trump for Politicizing the Military


Governor Ron DeSantis has launched a desperate attack against Trump, asserting that creeping politicization and “wokeness” in the military began under Obama and continued under Trump. 

The presidential hopeful pointed to Trump’s supposed politicization of the military vowing to course-correct if elected president. 

DeSantis is apparently clutching at straws, trying to find something to attack the former President with. But how truthful is his claim? And how was Trump’s treatment of the military any different than past presidents? 

At a recent town hall, when asked about how his military policies differ from Biden’s, Governor Ron DeSantis explained his proposed military reform, and even took the opportunity to accuse Trump of politicizing the military during his administration. 

Drawing on his experience in Iraq as legal counsel to a SEAL commander, DeSantis offered a sobering assessment. 

He argued that the politicization of the military began years ago under Obama, then continued with Trump. According to DeSantis, the Biden administration has now put this political infiltration “on steroids.”

DeSantis pointed out how this “woke agenda” undermines the military’s only job – getting the mission done. 

This assessment is supported by recruitment numbers dropping to post-Vietnam lows since many potential recruits appear to no longer trust that deployment calls will be based on strategy rather than politics.

DeSantis’ prescription for this mess? Rip out all the politically correct “woke rot” from the ranks. If elected, he vows to trash the political agendas in the military and make mission readiness priority one again. 

Many would likely agree with DeSantis on this point, considering how the military has adopted policies that have changed the military’s culture.

It’s easy to see how this woke ideology being shoved into the military affects military readiness. It divides troops by constantly emphasizing race, sex, and all the real or conceived differences enforced by this agenda. 

It’s also causing people to question whether personnel are moving up the ranks because of merit or simply because of some quota. Just look at the latest US army ads, the goal is very clear:

This constant politicization takes away from the military’s sole purpose, which is to protect the United States of America. 

But while they might agree with DeSantis on this point, quite a few people would disagree with his criticism of Trump. DeSantis essentially accused Trump of “letting it slide” under his administration. But is there even any merit to this accusation? 

The fact that DeSantis overlooks with his accusation is that the campaign to make the military “woke” didn’t start with Biden or Trump – it’s been brewing for a while now.  

Back in 2015, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus completely dismissed a Marine Corps study showing gender-integrated combat units were less quick and accurate, with women twice as likely to be injured. Mabus rejected the study since its findings didn’t align with the Obama administration’s political goals, which is when progressive political agendas in the military really started to flourish.

Then in that same year, the Department of Defense opened all combat roles to women. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter pledged “gender-neutral standards” so women could meet combat demands. Since then, the Army spent a decade trying to develop this neutral test. But they found women weren’t scoring as high as men. Under pressure from advocacy groups, the Army scrapped the test. Now there’s no test to assess if soldiers meet combat fitness requirements at all.

At the close of his second term in 2015, President Obama spearheaded an overhaul of the military’s existing transgender policy which was a huge change to the status quo. So what did Trump do? 

The incoming Trump team halted the change to review it further. Information presented to Defense Secretary Mattis, such as the fact that transgender people with gender dysphoria are more likely to have suicidal tendencies and experience extreme anxiety way more than the general public, cast serious doubt on their suitability for service.

Based on those concerns, the Trump administration set what seemed like common sense limits on transgender military members suffering from gender dysmorphia. But just hours after taking office in January 2021, President Biden axed those guardrails with an executive order opening service to all transgender people.

Since then, the Biden administration has said active duty troops can take time off to get gender reassignment surgeries, hormones, and meds – all billed to the taxpayer. Never mind impacts on readiness or deployment. Advancing progressive social policy takes priority over winning wars.

It’s no wonder that Senator Ted Cruz has mocked efforts to make the military more “woke” and inclusive, arguing it leads to “an emasculated military.”

And of course this extends itself to personnel’s physical fitness as well. 

Top-notch physical fitness has always been central to the U.S. military. But lately, standards have gotten weaker and weaker in the name of equality and wokeness. 

The Army just lowered the minimum for push-ups to a measly ten reps. Their two mile run time minimum rose from 19 to 23 minutes – not exactly lighting speed. And the new Space Force is even thinking about nixing physical tests altogether.

Last year, Biden’s Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Michael Gilday added Ibram X. Kendi’s book How to Be an Antiracist to his recommended readings list. This influential critical race theory work argues “Capitalism is essentially racist” and “to be truly antiracist, you have to be anti-capitalist.”

So one of our highest naval leaders is promoting a book claiming capitalism, the bedrock of America’s economic system, is racist.

Now it’s no secret that the Biden administration does indeed prioritize the politicization of the military, as opposed to military readiness and advancement. Biden is spending billions on political programs, all while the Chinese are outpacing us on hypersonic weapons, quantum computing, and other important military technologies.

So, when it comes to Biden, Ron DeSantis’ claims were not far off.

On the other hand, however, DeSantis’ previous accusations towards Trump are completely unfounded. Trump put a stop to the very policies that DeSantis claims continued under Trump’s nose.

And while Trump has not spelled out precisely how he sees the future of the military  during his second term as Commander in Chief, his previous policies speak for themselves.

So far Trump has said that if he is elected in 2024, he is prepared to unleash the military for domestic purposes. He’s proposed deploying troops to the border and into cities overwhelmed by violent crime. 

Despite the candidates different approaches when it comes to the military, Trump and the GOP still enjoy broad backing from veterans and active duty servicemembers. AP VoteCast surveys show 59 percent of veterans voted for Trump back in 2020, while 57 percent supported Republicans in 2022 midterms.

This strong support demonstrates most in uniform don’t subscribe to “woke” views. They appreciate Trump standing up for America’s interests and military power. Even if brass push progressive policies, the rank-and-file trust Trump’s leadership.

These pro-Trump troops are a key voting bloc in early battleground states like Iowa. Trump holds a commanding lead there, topping polls by double any margin in the last 50 years. With military communities rallying behind him, Trump is poised for an Iowa knockout that will propel his nomination.

While the top generals cozy up to Biden’s liberal agendas, veterans and enlisted personnel flock to Trump. 

Trump’s Iowa juggernaut shows he’s maintained the trust of those who sacrifice most for America. As in 2016, military support seems to be decisively leaning in support of Trump again in 2024.

Democrats and Republicans may tout their military policies, but the proof is in the pudding. Whether it’s DeSantis or Biden, no matter the rhetoric, what matters most is whether service members and veterans believe it. 

That’s why polling their voting preferences gives the clearest picture of which candidate has earned the military community’s trust.

Now we await the only poll that really counts; the free choices made by veterans and military families in 2024. Their voice at the ballot box will decisively shape the military’s future course.

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