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Military leaders thrash Tucker Carlson after comments about female troops

“What we absolutely won’t do is take personnel advice from a talk show host,” said the Pentagon’s top spokesperson

The comments from Carlson provoked such criticism among military leaders that top Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby took time at the start of his press briefing on Thursday “to briefly address some recent comments made by the host of a popular cable show.”

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Senior military officials are condemning Fox News host Tucker Carlson for saying this week that President Joe Biden is making a “mockery” of the armed forces through efforts to recruit and keep women in the service. On Tuesday, Carlson complained during his prime-time program that while “China’s military becomes more masculine … our military needs to become, as Joe Biden says, more feminine.”

Carlson was referring to remarks Biden made at a White House ceremony on Monday, during which he announced the nominations of two female generals to become combatant commanders — putting them on track to potentially become only the second and third women to serve in those positions in U.S. history.

At that event, Biden said the military was undertaking “relatively straightforward work” to better reflect gender diversity within its ranks and retain female recruits, including “designing body armor that fits women properly, tailoring combat uniforms for women, creating maternity flight suits [and] updating requirements for their hairstyles.”

Carlson ridiculed Biden’s remarks the next night on his show. “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,” he said.

The comments from Carlson provoked such criticism among military leaders that top Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby took time at the start of his press briefing on Thursday “to briefly address some recent comments made by the host of a popular cable show.”

Speaking to reporters, Kirby described “the diversity of our military” as “one of our greatest strengths” and acknowledged that “we still have a lot of work to do to make our military more inclusive, more respectful of everyone, especially women.”

“But what we absolutely won’t do is take personnel advice from a talk show host or the Chinese military,” Kirby said. “Now, maybe those folks feel like they have something to prove. That’s on them. We know we’re the greatest military in the world today, and even for all the things we need to improve, we know exactly why that’s so.”

He added that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin “shares the revulsion” of other leaders who have criticized Carlson’s remarks.

Army Gen. Paul Funk, head of Training and Doctrine Command, tweeted on Wednesday that female service members are “beacons of freedom” who “prove Carlson wrong through determination and dedication. We are fortunate they serve with us.”

Sgt. Maj. of the Army Michael Grinston also tweeted on Wednesday that women “lead our most lethal units with character. They will dominate ANY future battlefield we’re called to fight on. @TuckerCarlson’s words are divisive, don’t reflect our values.”

Master Gunnery Sgt. Scott Stalker, the top enlisted leader at U.S. Space Command, released a video message on Thursday denouncing “drama TV.” He urged soldiers to “get back to work” and “remember that those opinions were made by an individual who has never served a day in his life.”

And in an implicit rebuke of Carlson, the Army's official Twitter account posted a series of images throughout the day on Thursday showing female soldiers carrying out their duties — all captioned with the phrase: “I am an American Soldier.”

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