‘Not Too Soft’: Def Sec Austin Responds To Criticism That Diversity Policies Turn Military Into ‘Pansies’

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Anders Hagstrom White House Correspondent
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Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin responded to criticism that his diversity policies are turning U.S. soldiers into “pansies” Monday, arguing the military “is not too soft.”

Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz had criticized recent “woke” advertisements from the military for focusing too heavily on diversity, arguing the ads make the U.S. look “emasculated.” Austin responded to such criticism in a Memorial Day interview with CNN, saying it is fodder for Russian and Chinese propaganda.

“It is not too soft. It will never be too soft,” Austin said. “I think our adversaries would like to capitalize on talking points like that, you know, the Chinese and the Russians. I welcome them to do that, because what this department, what Lloyd Austin is focused on is the defense of our nation.”

“I will not lose one minute of sleep over what the Chinese leadership is saying or what Vladimir Putin is saying. What I will focus on, and what I am focused on, is the defense of this nation,” he added.

Cruz had tweeted a video May 20 comparing a Russian and U.S. military ad. The U.S. ad featured Disney-esque animation and a voiceover from Cpl. Emma Malonelord, who describes her upbringing with two moms and engaging in activism before joining the military. The Russian ad features a rugged voiceover and depicts of soldiers waking in barracks and looking down the sights of a rifle while laying in the snow.

Cruz later clarified his tweet, saying he was not criticizing the military, but rather the Democrat policies he argues turn soldiers into “pansies.” (RELATED: ANALYSIS: Watch These Chinese Military Ads, Then These American Military Ads. Which Country Wins Wars?)

Fox News Host Tucker Carlson has also criticized Austin and President Joe Biden for imposing diversity and inclusion policies on the military.

“So we’ve got new hairstyles and new maternity flight suits, pregnant women are going to fight our wars,” Carlson said in March. “It’s a mockery of the U.S. military. While China’s military becomes more masculine as it assembles the world’s largest Navy, our military needs to become more feminine, whatever feminine means anymore because men and women no longer exist. The bottom line is it’s out of control. And the Pentagon’s going along with this. This is a mockery of the U.S. Military and its core mission which is winning wars.”