Rep. Brian Mast said 'wokeness' is 'going to cost people's lives in the end.'
Rep. Brian Mast (R-FL) is very worried that teaching people in the U.S. Armed Forces about racism is going to somehow get them killed.
In a Fox News interview on Thursday, Mast warned that "wokeness" in the military would be the biggest threat to the lives of those serving.
The most dangerous thing for our military is wokeness. Up to this point, that hasn't been the place that the military has really landed, largely. There's been some folks trying to make those inroads in there, you know, over the last couple of years, but it's been able to be avoided.
The military is a serious place. It's life-and-death work at nearly every single level of it. It's always serious. It's very often dangerous. It's quite often deadly. That's no place for wokeism that's going on here domestically. And we have to keep it out of there, it's going to cost people's lives in the end.
"Now, they're even trying to make the military 'woke,'" he tweeted Thursday evening, sharing the interview. "We have to keep politics out of the military or it's going to cost people's lives!"
A spokesperson for Mast did not immediately respond to an inquiry for this story.
Mast made the comments in response to a question about recent GOP outrage over the demotion of a Space Force officer who attacked the military's anti-racism efforts as Marxist.
Lt. Col. Matthew Lohmeier was relieved of his command of a squadron earlier this month due to what the Space Force called "loss of trust and confidence in his ability to lead" after he self-published a book called "Irresistible Revolution: Marxism's Goal of Conquest & the Unmaking of the American Military."
Promoting his work on a podcast, Lohmeier charged, "The diversity, inclusion and equity industry and the trainings we are receiving in the military ... is rooted in critical race theory, which is rooted in Marxism."
Several Republican lawmakers have blasted efforts by the Department of Defense to implement diversity training, urging it be banned to stop "the spread" of "critical race theory." In February, Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas called it "anti-American" to even acknowledge that systemic racism has been present throughout the nation's history.
Racial discrimination present in the military continues to create a dangerous climate for soldiers of color and significant barriers to reporting racist incidents and obtaining justice.
Many congressional Republicans have started using the term "wokeness" as a catchall to belittle such efforts as fighting racial discrimination, protecting the right to vote, recruiting diverse workforces, treating LGBTQ people equally, and curbing police brutality.
Last week, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas shared what turned out to be a Russian propaganda video while mocking the U.S. military for "woke" efforts to turn the military into "a bunch of pansies," comparing the soldiers in the Russian video with a U.S. Army recruitment ad that featured a female solder and her two mothers.
"Perhaps a woke, emasculated military is not the best idea," Cruz tweeted.
He also penned an April 28 opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal threatening "woke CEOs" with legislative punishments for opposing GOP voter suppression efforts and claiming he would not accept corporate PAC contributions anymore.
Republicans have long made the argument that diversity in the military would somehow be harmful to the troops.
In a 2010 speech against repealing the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy and letting gay and lesbian people serve openly in the military, then-Rep. Mike Pence warned, "I believe the American people don't want the American military used as a vehicle to advance a liberal social agenda," despite two-thirds' support for the change among the American public. "Look, we all know that success on a battlefield requires high morale, unit cohesion. Standards of conduct over the years have been a critical part of this. Don't Ask, Don't Tell has been in place for 17 years."
The repeal passed despite most of the GOP opposing it. A year later, a study by the Palm Center at the University of California, Santa Barbara, found the move had "no negative impact" on "unit cohesion, recruitment, retention, assaults, harassment or morale."
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.