A number of servicewomen and men, as well as sergeant majors, condemned the conservative Fox News anchor for comments made on Wednesday night, when he chastised US president Joe Biden for allowing the military to become “more feminine”.
In a minute-long segment, Mr Carlson went on to criticise a number of measures that were recently introduced to accommodate women in the military, including maternity-sized flight suits.
“So we’ve got new hairstyles and maternity flight suits. Pregnant women are gonna fight our wars,” said Mr Carlson, seemingly making fun of servicewomen. “It’s a mockery of the US military”.
The Fox News anchor, once infamously rejected by the CIA before starting a media career, went on to compare the US military with that of China, who he complained was becoming “more masculine”.
“While China’s military becomes more masculine, as it’s assembled the world’s largest navy, our military needs to become more feminine, whatever feminine means anymore,” said Mr Carlson, who went on to make transphobic comments.
It was also suggested that a more “feminine” military ran counter to the defence department’s core mission, which was to “win wars”.
A significant number of current and former military members soon condemned the Fox News anchor, with sergeant major Michael Grinston, of the US army, calling the segment “divisive”, as well as wrong.
“Women lead our most lethal units with character. They will dominate ANY future battlefield we’re called to fight on. Tucker Carlson’s words are divisive [and] don’t reflect our values,” wrote Sgt Grinston.
Other service members openly called for military bases and installations to boycott the ring-wing, and increasingly controversial, cable channel.
“As a military officer, I am calling for the ban of Fox News being broadcasted in the workplace on all military bases and installations,” wrote Travis Akers, of the US Navy, on Twitter.
“The values of Fox News are not aligned with those of the United States military, and undermine good order and discipline among the ranks,” he added.
Heather Tregle, an army officer, added that she “had 2 children while serving in the Army, deployed to 2 combat zones, advised commanders at home and in war, and graduated from the Naval War College.”
“I can assure you, my presence does not make a mockery of the military.If you’re looking for a mockery, look in the mirror,” Ms Tregle added on Twitter.
Responding to the controversy on Thursday, defence department spokesperson John Kirby told reporters that the Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin, shared the same "revulsion" towards Mr Carlson’s comments, CNN reported.
"The Secretary certainly shares the revulsion of so many others to what Mr Carlson said," Mr Kirby added, while adding that the US military still has "a lot of work to do" to become "more inclusive, more respectful of everyone — especially women."
Mr Biden, the US president, on Monday marked International Women’s Day by promoting two women to four-star combat command posts.
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