(HuffPost) – At a House Armed Services Committee Congressional hearing Wednesday, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) suggested the U.S. Military has embraced critical race theory and is too “woke.”
The accusation didn’t sit well with Gen. Mark Milley, the nation’s highest-ranking military officer, who was on hand to testify regarding the 2022 defense budget.
Gen. Milley volunteered a strong disagreement with Gaetz’s assessment after Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who also testified Wednesday, firmly rebuffed the congressman’s claim.
“I do think it’s important for those of us in uniform to be open-minded and be widely read,” the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff opened, after Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D-Pa.) offered him a chance to respond.
“And it is important that we train and we understand — I want to understand white rage, and I’m white — and I want to understand it,” he continued. “What is it that caused thousands of people to assault this building and tried to overturn the Constitution of the United States of America? What caused that? I want to find that out.”
The general then shifted to a strong defense of open-mindedness as a necessity to understand ourselves and the servicemen and women across all branches of the U.S. Military.
“I’ve read Mao Tse-tung. I’ve read Karl Marx. I’ve read Lenin. That doesn’t make me a Communist,” he continued. “So what is wrong with understanding? Having some situational understanding about the country for which we are here to defend?
“I personally find it offensive that we are accusing the United States Military, our general officers, our non-commissioned officers, of being ‘woke’ or something else because we’re studying some theories that are out there.”
As the general launched into a brief, yet fairly comprehensive, look at civil rights laws in the United States from before the Civil War to the present day, Gaetz can briefly be seen on camera shaking his head.
Gaetz later responded on Twitter, “With Generals like this it’s no wonder we’ve fought considerably more wars than we’ve won.”