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Top Pentagon leaders testily defend efforts on racism, extremism

Senate Defense
Posted at 4:01 PM, Jun 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-23 19:12:51-04

Tense moments erupted on Capitol Hill Wednesday as top Pentagon leaders testified about the military's approach to issues like critical race theory before the House Armed Services Committee.

According to the Associated Press, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin got into a heated exchange with Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, while Joint Chiefs of Staff Chair General Mark Milley responded angrily to Florida Rep. Michael Waltz's statements about West Point instruction on racism.

Milley forcefully pushed back after Waltz questioned the appropriateness of a seminar at West Point called "understanding whiteness and white rage."

"But I do think it's important, actually, for those of us in uniform to be open-minded, and be widely read, and the United States military academy is a university," Milley said. "And it is important that we train, and we understand, and I want to understand “white rage.” And I'm white. And I want to understand it. So, what is it that caused thousands of people to assault this building and try to overturn the constitution of the United States of America? What caused that? I want to find that out. And I personally find it offensive that we are accusing the United States military, our general officers, our commissioned, noncommissioned officers, of being quote “woke,” or something else, because we're studying some theories that are out there."

After the hearing, Gaetz took to Twitter, stating that "with Generals like this it’s no wonder we’ve fought considerably more wars than we’ve won."