The Pentagon lashed out at Fox News host Tucker Carlson after his Tuesday night monologue criticized women in the military, prompting harsh reactions from top brass and across the forces.
Carlson was particularly critical of diversity changes at the Defense Department, attacking new guidelines on hairstyles, maternity flight suits, and women who fight on the front lines. Carlson also made a reference to how China does not have similar policies in its military, calling the Chinese force “more masculine.”
"So, we've got new hairstyles and maternity flight suits," Carlson said. "Pregnant women are going to fight our wars. It's a mockery of the U.S. military."
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin “shared the revulsion” of service members, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said at a Thursday press gaggle.
“We are better and more effective, not only when we represent the American people, all the American people, but also when we have the morals to include other perspectives and ideas,” Kirby said. “A major and specific contributor to that advantage are the women who serve, civilian and military alike.”
“I would hope that in the reaction he's seeing, and hopefully in our reaction here today, that he'll realize the mistake he made and express some regret about the manner in which he’s demeaned the entire U.S. military and how we defend and how we serve this country," he added.
In his monologue, Carlson implied the Defense Department is blindly following liberal cultural preferences.
"The bottom line is it's out of control, and the Pentagon is going along with this," Carlson said.
"While China's military becomes more masculine as it's assembled the world's largest navy, our military needs to become, as Joe Biden says, more feminine, whatever feminine means anymore since men and women no longer exist," he added. (The president never used the term feminine, despite the talk show host's claims.)
On a week when Biden celebrated International Women’s Day with a White House ceremony nominating two women to serve as combatant commanders, Kirby admitted that more work needs to be done.
“We recognize the lack of female leadership across the senior ranks. We pledge to do better, and we will,” he said. “What we absolutely won't do is take personnel advice from a talk show host or the Chinese military.”