Rep. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarHolding back on defensive systems for Israel could have dangerous consequences The Memo: Biden's immigration problems reach crescendo in Del Rio Pentagon 'aware' of reports Wisconsin military base's struggle to feed, heat Afghan refugees MORE (D-Minn.) took aim at Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzFBI investigating alleged assault on Fort Bliss soldier at Afghan refugee camp The Memo: Biden's immigration problems reach crescendo in Del Rio Matthew McConaughey on potential political run: 'I'm measuring it' MORE (R-Texas) and other Republicans after Cruz penned a letter to the Pentagon chief complaining about comments military leaders made knocking Fox News’s Tucker CarlsonTucker CarlsonRepublicans criticizing Afghan refugees face risks Critics blast Tucker Carlson's immigration remarks amid border surge Stefanik in ad says Democrats want 'permanent election insurrection' MORE.
Carlson has been under fire for bashing the steps the armed forces have taken in recent years to become more gender-inclusive.
“Republicans going after the military because of misogyny and a dangerously radical Fox News pundit is just wild and revealing. Like I said before, these hypocrites do ultimately tell on themselves,” Omar wrote in a tweet late Sunday.
Republicans going after the military because of misogyny and a dangerously radical Fox News pundit is just wild and revealing.— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) March 15, 2021
Like I said before, these hypocrites do ultimately tell on themselves. https://t.co/jT5t28pAC4
The tweet came in a response to another posted by Cruz hours before detailing a letter he sent to Defense Secretary Lloyd AustinLloyd AustinOvernight Defense & National Security — Presented by AM General — The Quad confab Top State Dept. official overseeing 'Havana syndrome' response leaving post Pentagon 'aware' of reports Wisconsin military base's struggle to feed, heat Afghan refugees MORE. The letter called for a meeting with the Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. David H. Berger, in response to what he referred to as “systematic, public attacks” by the Pentagon against Carlson that he said “in substance, tone, and political resonance are inexplicably inappropriate.”
Cruz was referring to comments some senior military leaders made last weekk voicing support for female service members. President BidenJoe BidenPelosi sets Thursday vote on bipartisan infrastructure bill Pressure grows to cut diplomatic red tape for Afghans left behind President Biden is making the world a more dangerous place MORE, on International Women's Day last week, pointed to efforts to make the armed forces more inclusive to women, efforts Carlson attacked.
Those included maternity flight suits in the Air Force and changes to grooming standards that allowed for more hairstyles for women, such as cornrows and twists, among others.
“So we've got new hairstyles and maternity flight suits. Pregnant women are going to fight our wars. It's a mockery of the U.S. military,” Carlson said in television remarks the following day.
“While China’s military becomes more masculine as it has assembled the world’s largest navy, our military needs to become, as Joe Biden says, more feminine, whatever feminine means anymore,” he also said, even though the efforts he targeted were initiated under the previous administration.
Carlson drew immediate backlash following his comments, including heat from military leaders like Sgt. Maj. of the Army Michael Grinston, who called the host’s comments “divisive” and said they “don’t reflect our values.”
“Women lead our most lethal units with character,” Grinston also said. “They will dominate ANY future battlefield we’re called to fight on.”
Marine Corps Master Gunnery Sgt. Scott Stalker, who is the command senior enlisted leader of U.S. Space Command, among other leaders, also rejected Carlson’s comments, saying the news host’s remarks were “based on zero days of service in the armed forces.”
In his letter to Austin on Sunday, Cruz referred to the critical comments by military leaders as behavior that “is completely unacceptable in the United States of America.”
“Multiple military leaders have tweeted video of themselves, while in uniform, as they attack Carlson, including the Command Senior Enlisted Leader of U.S. Space Command, the Sgt. Major of the Army, the Commanding General of the U.S. Army Maneuver Center of Excellence, and the commanding officer of the II Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) Information Group (IG),” he wrote.
“Throughout this campaign, military leaders have suggested and insinuated that it is out of bounds for civilians to criticize the military unless they've served,” he said.
“This spectacle risks politicizing the military after several centuries of efforts to keep military officials out of domestic affairs, undermining civil-military relations by having the military take a side in a contentious cultural dispute, and the perception that military leaders are happily weaponizing the institution against political critics of the sitting administration,” he continued.
In addition to requesting an in-person meeting with Berger to discuss the issues, Cruz also asked for a plan to address similar behavior from service members.
“I also request an official response from the department and implementation of a policy that insulates other units from being similarly mobilized against the speech of American citizens or in the service of left wing political causes,” he said.