Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida mocked the Biden administration Friday over military recruiting struggles, saying that under Biden the military has “lost its way” by using a drag queen to help in recruiting efforts.
The Navy selected Yeoman Second Class Joshua Kelley, who performs as a drag queen under the stage name “Harpy Daniels,” to serve as a digital ambassador in 2022, the Daily Caller News Foundation previously reported. “When I see them focusing on things like drag queens for recruiting, your like, this really has lost its way, and is it any wonder that recruiting is in the toilet, right now?” DeSantis asked during remarks in Bedford, New Hampshire. (RELATED: ‘Wage A War On Woke’: DeSantis Touts Culture War Battles In Key Primary State Ahead Of Anticipated Presidential Run)
“So, I think that you need to restore a sense of mission and it’s all about being able to fight and win wars, and when you have that sense of mission and nothing’s going to detract you from it, man, morale goes through the roof, because people feel like they’re part of something that matters,” DeSantis, who served in Iraq and at Guantanamo Bay as a Navy judge advocate general, added.
The Navy featured Kelley in a profile for “Pride Month” in 2020 on the website for Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren, a base in Virginia. The Department of Defense lowered recruiting standards in 2022 to address difficulties in recruiting enough volunteers, the DCNF reported, including allowing those infected with HIV to serve overseas and in the officer corps, and allowed those who test positive for marijuana the opportunity to take a second drug test.
DeSantis, who has not formally declared his candidacy for president, but was in New Hampshire, an early primary state, noted that recruiting wasn’t an issue at the height of the global War on Terror in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“It wasn’t a cup of tea, it wasn’t fun and yet people still wanted to join,” DeSantis said. “I think it’s because they understood you know where, in the cloth of your country and stepping up, even in conflicts that weren’t going well, that that mattered.”
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