Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin ripped Sen. Ted Cruz for accusing the Army of making a recruitment ad that paints soldiers as “pansies,” saying America’s foes would seize on those comments.
China and Russia “would like to capitalize on talking points like that,” Austin said in an interview with CNN published on Memorial Day, adding that the US military will never be “soft.”
“I will not lose one minute of sleep about 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, and making sure that we have what’s needed to be successful,” the defense secretary said.
Cruz earlier this month retweeted a video that compared a Russian military recruitment ad that showed musclebound men shooting rifles and jumping out of airplanes with an Army video focusing on a female soldier with “two moms.”
“Holy crap. Perhaps a woke, emasculated military is not the best idea….,” the Texas Republican wrote on Twitter, saying the video makes soldiers look like “pansies.”
The animated Army ad told the story of Cpl. Emma Malonelord, who was raised by a lesbian couple, and said she joined the service because the US defends gay rights.
It’s part of an ad campaign that tries to “shatter” military stereotypes by telling the true stories of soldiers.
Austin said the US has the “best military in the world today” because of people who “populate our ranks.”
“I think we’re doing a great job in terms of recruiting the right kinds of people, providing access to people from every corner, every walk of life in this country. As long as you’re fit and you can qualify, there’s a place for you on this team,” the retired Army general said.
He went on to say that the military must be diverse.
“We represent the United States of America. We ought to look like America and not only in the ranks,” Austin said. “But our leadership should look like America.”