Republican senator Ted Cruz has asked for a meeting with the head of the Marines, as he accused the Pentagon of launching “political attacks” against Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson and civilians who criticise government policy.
“Under Biden, the military is launching political attacks to intimidate Tucker Carlson & other civilians who criticize their policy decisions,” Mr Cruz tweeted on Sunday, announcing that he has sent a letter to US secretary of defence Lloyd Austin.
“Officials in uniform are being used for the campaign. I’ve demanded a meeting with the Commandant of the USMC to put a stop to it,” he said.
The Texas senator also attached a copy of the letter he wrote to Austin, alongside a tweet where he said that the Pentagon has been mobilising “systematic, public attacks against television host Tucker Carlson” in the last week “that in substance, tone, and political resonance are inexplicably inappropriate".
According to Mr Cruz, the military was undermining its broader obligation to avoid political endorsements and controversy, “for the sake of leftwing ideology and political expediency.”
“This spectacle risks politicizing the military after several centuries of efforts to keep military officials out of domestic affairs,” he wrote in his letter. “This kind of behaviour, while perhaps typical in a military-controlled Third World country, is completely unacceptable in the United States of America.”
The row began with Fox host Carlson’s controversial remarks over new specialised flight suits for pregnant women in the military, as he labelled it an attempt by Joe Biden to make the military “more feminine”.
“So we’ve got new hairstyles and maternity flight suits,” Carlson said last week on his show. “Pregnant women are going to fight our wars. It’s a mockery of the US military.
“While China’s military becomes more masculine as it’s assembled the world’s largest navy, our military needs to become, as Joe Biden says, more feminine, whatever feminine means anymore since men and women no longer exist.”
Former and serving military leaders, including a number of ex-defence chiefs, have hit out at Carlson for his comments, calling them sexist and “divisive”.
The presenter has only doubled down on his stance since, calling the officers who have criticised him “woke generals”.
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies