US defence secretary hits back at Ted Cruz claim that Biden wants ‘weak and emasculated’ military

US defence secretary hits back at Ted Cruz claim that Biden wants 'weak and emasculated' military
The military officer says the senator was providing American adversaries with talking points

Texas senator Ted Cruz has been attacking the Biden administration, claiming the Democrats want to promote a “woke” military that downplays masculinity.

“Perhaps a woke, emasculated military is not the best idea,” Mr Cruz complained in a tweet.

The senator became incensed after seeing a series of US army recruitment videos, titled “The Calling”, that promotes diversity. He compared the ads to Russian military recruitment ads that appear to focus on projecting strength through images of masculinity.

He said that “Dem politicians” and “woke media” were trying to turn soldiers into “pansies”.

His complaints finally caught the attention of Gen. Lloyd Austin, Mr Biden’s secretary of defence, who lashed out at Mr Cruz during an interview with CNN on Monday.

“I will not lose one minute of sleep about what the Chinese leadership is saying or what (Russian President) Vladimir Putin is saying. What I will focus on, and what I am focused on, is the defence of this nation, and making sure that we have what’s needed to be successful,” he said, saying the US military will never be “soft”.

Mr Austin said he was confident the armed forces’ recruitment efforts were effective.

“I think we’re doing a great job in terms of recruiting the right kinds of people, providing access to people from every corner, every walk of life in this country. As long as you’re fit and you can qualify, there’s a place for you on this team,” he said.

He insinuated that Mr Cruz was doing more damage to the military than any of their ads could do, as Russia and China “would like to capitalize” on Mr Cruz’s “talking points” to aid their own recruitment.

Retired Army National Guard Lieutenant Colonel and Democratic Senator Tammy Duckworth – who lost both of her legs while serving in Iraq – also took Mr Cruz to task.

“Holy crap,” she wrote on Twitter. “Perhaps a US Senator shouldn’t suggest that the *Russian* military is better than the American military that protected him from an insurrection he helped foment?”

VoteVets, a group supporting veterans and promoting liberal policies, also criticised Mr Cruz’s remarks.

“Ted Cruz attacks a US Army soldier for telling her story, says he prefers Russians. Because Ted Cruz is a sedition-loving traitor,” the group wrote.

Another military veteran, Amy McGrath, who challenged but ultimately lost in a campaign to unseat Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, also took a shot at the senator.

“Dear @tedcruz – you have no idea what being a warrior is all about. Signed, all women who have worn the uniform to protect your right to be an a**,” she wrote.

Mr Cruz’s comments were almost identical to those made by an extreme-right analyst at the Center for Fundamental Rights in Budapest, Hungary.

That organisation has been linked to far-right government of Hungary’s Prime Minister Victor Orban, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The analyst, Koskovics Zoltan, called the US Army ad “woke,” in a tweet, though he did praise the artwork.

He then sent another tweet comparing it to the same Russian Army ad that Mr Cruz noted.

The films were widely compared both among the far-right in Russia and the far-right in the United States, with conservative blog RedState picking up on the discussion, and Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes also complaining about the video.