‘Embarrassed By Your Leadership’: Matt Gaetz And Lloyd Austin Trade Barbs On State Of US Military

Rod Lamkey-Pool/Getty Images

Alexander Pease Contributor
Font Size:

Republican Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz told Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin that he was “embarrassed” by his leadership at a Tuesday hearing on the Biden Administration’s 2023 defense budget requests.

During the exchange, Gaetz attributed recent shortcomings by the U.S. Military with regard to weapons development, the Afghanistan withdrawl, and flawed assessments about the war in Ukraine to an increased emphasis on social justice education and critical race theory at U.S. Military colleges. (RELATED: ‘I Want To Understand White Rage’: Joint Chiefs Chairman Defends Teaching CRT, Rips ‘Offensive’ Criticisms Of ‘Woke’ US Military)

Gaetz argued that the U.S. is behind on hypersonic missile development when compared to other nations around the world. “China is fielding hypersonic weapons and we are still developing them,” he remarked. “Your own people brief us that we are behind and that China is winning.”

Gaetz also mentioned the threat of North Korea as it continues to develop its military capabilities.

“While everyone in the world seems to be developing capabilities and being more strategic, we’ve got time to teach critical race theory at West Point, to embrace socialism in the National Defense University, to do mandatory pronoun training,” Gaetz said.

Austin responded by saying that the state of U.S. Military remains “the most capable, the most combat critical force in the world.” (RELATED: Pentagon Tries To Block Unvaccinated SEALs From Being Deployed By Asking The Supreme Court)

Austin took aim at Gaetz by saying, “the fact that you’re embarrassed by your country, I’m sorry for that.”

“I’m embarrassed by your leadership, I am not embarrassed for my country,” Gaetz responded.

Gaetz also pointed to analysis from the Pentagon that predicted the Russian military would “overrun Ukraine in 36 days,” and that the Taliban would be “kept at bay for months” after U.S. military forces pulled out of Afghanistan.

“You totally blew those calls,” Gaetz said. “Maybe we would be better at them if the National Defense University actually worked a little more on strategy and a little less on wokeism.”

Austin hit back by suggesting that actions taken by the U.S. Military and its allies are responsible for curtailing Russian forces in the region.