Military officials are calling for Fox News Channel to be removed from military bases after one of its most popular hosts, Tucker Carlson, sparked controversy Tuesday night in a commentary on female soldiers.
"So we've got new hairstyles and maternity flight suits. Pregnant women are gonna fight our wars," Carlson said during an introduction of a guest. "It's a mockery of the U.S. military."
Carlson continued: "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, because men and women no longer exist. The bottom line is it's out of control. The Pentagon is going along with it. This is a mockery of the U.S. military and its core mission, which is winning wars."
Sergeant Major Michael Grinston, the Army's top enlisted official, called Carlson's words "divisive" and wrong on social media.
"Women lead our most lethal units with character. They will dominate ANY future battlefield we’re called to fight on. @TuckerCarlson’s words are divisive, don’t reflect our values. We have THE MOST professional, educated, agile, and strongest NCO Corps in the world," Grinston said on Twitter
Gen. Paul Funk II, head of the Army Training and Doctrine Command, tweeted: "Thousands of women serve honorably every day around the globe. They are beacons of freedom and they prove Carlson wrong through determination and dedication. We are fortunate they serve with us."
Defense Department spokesperson John Kirby told reporters that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin shared the "revulsion" of others, CNN reported.
Kirby said the military still has "a lot of work to do" to become "more inclusive, more respectful of everyone — especially women."
"What we absolutely won't do is take personnel advice from a talk show host or the Chinese military,” Kirby said. “We are better and more effective not only when we represent the American people, all the American people, but also when we have the moral courage to include other perspectives and ideas into our decision-making perspective.”
"F*** Tucker Carlson," tweeted Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., who lost both legs when the Black Hawk helicopter she was co-piloting was shot down in Iraq in 2004.
"While he was practicing his two-step, America’s female warriors were hunting down Al-Qaeda and proving the strength of America’s women," Duckworth wrote. "Happy belated International Women’s Day to everyone but Tucker, who even I can dance better than."
Carlson was once a contestant on the television show "Dancing with the Stars."
The host did have defenders, including frequent Fox guest Brigitte Gabrielle, who tweeted, "Tucker Carlson has done NOTHING wrong."
Defense One noted that while the military has been under fire for its handling of sexual assault and harassment, it has also made gains in recent years to benefit female service members.
In July, the Air Force changed its policy on pregnant and postpartum members attending professional military education courses, the website noted.
"Pregnant and postpartum airmen are now able to attend PME courses within the first year after giving birth — this previously would have required an exception to policy," according to the report. "Additionally, airmen who experience miscarriages now have the option to delay physical fitness assessments for a certain period of time after miscarrying depending on the duration of the pregnancy."
And in August, the Defense Department began a survey focusing on the reproductive health of female service members.
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