Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) ripped a House Armed Services Committee hearing on “extremism in the military” as “total nonsense.”
“I represent the district that has the highest concentration of active-duty military in the country and respectfully it is on their behalf that I would characterize this hearing as ‘total nonsense,'” Gaetz said.
Commenting on pressing national security issues, he said:
Today the Chinese Communist Party is building aircraft carriers and jets that every member of this committee knows threaten to close or eliminate the capability gap. North Korea is perfecting the ability to strike the United States with nuclear weapons, cartels are hunting the next trafficking routes, and here we are, ‘hunting’ in the words of one of our witnesses memes and keywords.
Today the House Armed Services Committee is engaged in a review of constitutionally-protected expression by our troops — how utterly weak of us. No wonder the Chinese Communist Party continues to gain ground. The entire purpose of this hearing is not what the chairman said. It is to gaslight the targeting of U.S. military patriots who do not share pre-approved politics. This is not about extremism, it is not about white supremacy, it is about woke supremacy.
It is about converting the military from an apolitical institution to an institution controlled by the political left. Today instead of working together, we are gathered at a hearing designed to tear us apart. To try to get us to view our fellow countrymen and women who protect us as somehow evil or dangerous or a cancer to be exorcised.
The U.S. military is the most diverse organization in our entire country. Men and women, Christians and Jews, Hindus, Muslims, queer and straight, every last one of them patriots with a united common purpose to protect and defend the United States of America. As we’ve noted, [Defense Secretary Lloyd] Austin said 99 percent of our service members believe in the oath that they swore to, and I believe that, too. But there is a difference between weeding out bad apples who should be removed from the ranks and using the charge of extremism to stigmatize different opinions. And increasingly, ‘extremism’ is a euphemism that Democrats are using when they’re talking about conservatives, Republicans, and the group they hate most — Trump supporters.
Gaetz commented on slides distributed to service members suggesting that Pepe the Frog should be considered a hate symbol:
… Does having a Pepe the Frog meme somewhere on your phone somehow make you a dangerous extremist? Is it now included in the list of hate symbols distributed right alongside neo-Nazi symbols? How ludicrous! … How long until Make America Great Again hats are are considered an extremist symbol?
… Today is nothing more than cancel culture coming for our military and it is disgusting. It is about power and we ought to tread carefully, because our fellow Americans do not take kindly to this type of tyranny.
Gaetz noted that one of the witnesses at the hearing was from the Southern Poverty Law Center, which he said attacked former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson, was “a hate group.”
“Today, we’re literally being lectured on extremism by a hate group, and other witnesses looking to hawk their books,” he added.
Today’s HASC hearing on “extremism in the military” is a total joke.
It is about nothing more than cancel culture coming for our military.
We ought to tread carefully because our fellow Americans do not take kindly to this type of tyranny. pic.twitter.com/ZOAFw0emvN
— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) March 24, 2021
Gaetz’s office also sent out a video showing Democrats calling for reviews of military recruit’s social media accounts.