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DOD declares cold war with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson after host’s put down of women in military

“I want to be very clear right up front, that the diversity of our military is one of our greatest strengths,” said Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby, a retired Navy rear admiral.

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U.S. Marine Female Engagement Team members Lance Cpl. Mary Shloss, right, of Hammond, Ind., Sgt. Monica Perez,, center, of San Diego, Calif. and Cpl. Kelsey Rossetti, of Derry, N.H. wait for the signal to begin their patrol with Golf Company, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Regiment of the 2nd MEB, 2nd MEF in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan on Aug. 10, 2009. The Department of Defense has declared a cold war on Fox News host Tucker Carlson in response to Carlson’s comments against the military’s decision to further expand uniform and body armor development that would appropriately fit women and to modification of military grooming standards.

Julie Jacobson, Associated Press

The Department of Defense has declared a cold war on Fox News host Tucker Carlson.

“I want to be very clear right up front, that the diversity of our military is one of our greatest strengths,” said Pentagon press secretary John F. Kirby, a retired Navy rear admiral, 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.”

Kirby’s remarks, published by the Pentagon, were in response to Carlson’s comments Tuesday against the military’s decision to further expand uniform and body armor development that would appropriately fit women and to modification of military grooming standards.

Carlson praised the Chinese military for the “masculine” expansion of its naval fleet and criticized President Joe Biden’s comments about expanding uniform options for women and updating the military’s grooming standards as “feminine.”

“So we’ve got new hairstyles and maternity flight suits. Pregnant women are going to fight our wars. It’s a mockery of the U.S. military,” Carlson said.

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Tucker Carlson, host of “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” poses for photos in a Fox News Channel studio, in New York on March 2, 2107.

Richard Drew, Associated Press

In the Defense Department’s press release, titled “Press Secretary Smites Fox Host That Dissed Diversity in U.S. Military,” a Pentagon spokesman added that “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 air force base in Jacksonville.” 

Military leaders react

Senior military leaders — who generally remain silent on matters that concern politicsmb — took to social media in an unprecedented show force Thursday.

“In the past year, the military has put a renewed focus on diversity and inclusion, standing up task forces and putting out media content about their commitment to the effort,” reported Military Times. “Carlson’s comments represent one of the first times they’ve had the opportunity to put their money where their mouths are.”

U.S. Air Force Gen. Jacqueline D. Van Ovost, the commander of the Air Mobility Command,said on her official Twitter page that “there are nearly 70K qualified, kick-ass female #USAF #Airmen.”

“For years we have evolved & will continue to evolve, shedding antiquated policies preventing ANY woman from reaching their full potential. Inclusion is our strength - it’ll be the difference between winning & losing,” the four-star general said.

U.S Army Maj. Gen. Patrick Donahue, the commander of Fort Benning’s Maneuver Center of Excellence, shared a video in his rebuke of Carlson, saying, “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 couldn't’ be more wrong.”

“I’ll remind everyone that his (Carlson’s) opinion — which he has a right to — is based off of actually zero days of service in the armed forces,” said U.S. Marine Corps Master Gunnery Sgt. Scott H. Stalker, the command senior enlisted leader of United States Space Command (different than Space Force), in a video posted to his official military Twitter account.

“(Carlson) was talking specifically about pregnant women in the armed forces today and how it makes us less lethal, less fit and less ready,” said the 28-year Marine Corp veteran. “Let me tell where he’s wrong.”

Stalker explained that decisions by military and health care officials to support women, like giving female service members “more time with their children, to recuperate, to get fit and ready ... actually makes us a more lethal, and ready and fit force.”

Without saying what they were doing out loud, the U.S. Army’s official Twitter page began posting and retweeting photos of female soldiers with verses of the “Soldier’s Creed.”

“I am a guardian of freedom and the American way of life,” a tweet reads, showing a female soldier aboard a military vehicle armed with a .50-caliber machine gun.

In the wake of the social media assault by military leaders, Carlson doubled-down on his statements Thursday evening by saying Biden support for women in the military was nothing more that “identity politics,” and not out of concern for improving the armed services.