GOP witness on 'militia extremism' supported military official fired for extremism

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Mike Gonzalez of the Heritage Foundation will speak at a House subcommittee hearing on 'Confronting Violent White Supremacy.'

Michael Gonzalez, a senior fellow at the right-wing Heritage Foundation, has been scheduled as a witness for the Republican minority in a hearing on Wednesday before the House Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties.

The hearing is entitled "Confronting Violent White Supremacy (Part V): Examining the rise of Militia Extremism." According to the memo sent out by committee staff, the hearing is designed to investigate the role that the militia movement has played "in the current rise of right-wing extremism."

The memo notes instances of "law enforcement acquiescing or even welcoming paramilitary activity by militias," citing police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, expressing appreciation for militias before militia member Kyle Rittenhouse killed two protesters.

Gonzalez recently co-wrote a piece for the Foundation entitled "The Woke Takeover of the U.S. Military Endangers Us All." In that article, Gonzalez lamented the recent dismissal of Lt. Col. Matthew Lohmeier from his position as a commander in the U.S. Space Force.

On May 14, Space Operations Command commander Lt. Gen. Stephen Whiting dismissed Lohmeier "due to a loss of trust and confidence in his ability to lead," according to a statement from Space Force. The agency said the action had occurred due to comments Lohmeier made promoting his self-published book on a podcast.

In that appearance, Lohmeier claimed that diversity training in the military "is rooted in critical race theory, which is rooted in Marxism." His book, "Irresistible Revolution: Marxism's Goal of Conquest & the Unmaking of the American Military," makes a similar argument.

In his column, Gonzalez described Lohmeier's inaccurate theorizing as "speaking the truth about critical race theory's rapid inroads among America's armed forces." Gonzalez also said that Lohmeier is an "early casualty in this ideological offensive."

Gonzalez went on to claim that diversity education "directly threatens our national security," because the ideas "undermine confidence in the principles underpinning our Constitution, trust in our system of government and traditional values."

The Republican witness labeled efforts at diversity and inclusion as evidence of "critical race theory," invoking a catchphrase that has been constantly echoed by Republican officials and in right-wing media like Fox News.

Attacking efforts at diversity is a regular theme of Gonzalez's writing. He opposes including books on diversity in the Navy's reading program, and he claims that pro-diversity curricula in schools is evidence of Marxism, discussions of diversity are "racial fanaticism," and systemic racism doesn't exist.

Gonzalez's writing also downplays right-wing extremism. In a Feb. 16 column on the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, Gonzalez equated the event with "three previous acts of aggression, all perpetrated by leftist activists." He then argued that "violence on all sides needs to be condemned," while not addressing in any detail the actions of pro-Trump rioters.

His posture echoes congressional Republicans, who in the House recently voted against a commission to study the attack. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, along with several other leading Senate Republicans, have also said they oppose a commission.

On the subject of Lohmeier, Republicans also weighed in on Gonzalez's side of the argument, lambasting the military for the lieutenant's dismissal.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) said the action was "outrageous," while Rep. Madison Cawthorne (R-NC) described him as a "patriot" who "should not have been removed from his post."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.