Rick Scott claims Navy mission was abandoned to 'train everybody on transgender'
Scott was complaining about how ‘woke’ America’s armed forces are when he shared the unheard of story. Officials have not confirmed it.
Florida Republican Sen. Rick Scott criticized the U.S. military on March 17 as insufficiently “lethal,” claiming that top leaders are forcing service members to be too “woke.” As an example, he claimed that a Navy ship tracking a Chinese vessel had had to abandon that mission because of a mandatory training program about transgender people.
During an appearance on the Pensacola, Florida, radio station News Radio 92.3 “Pensacola Morning News” program, Scott was asked by host Andrew McKay about military readiness and said: “They’re more focused on woke stuff than they are on being lethal. I think our job of our military — and I served in the Navy, my dad served in the Army — our job is basically to scare the crap out of our enemies. They’re putting a lot of time into pronouns, stuff like that.”
Pressed to explain, Scott said:
There’s great people in the Navy, there’s great people all over, but they’re being pushed to spend more time on wokeness. On pronouns. … I was talking to a retired, I think, captain, and he was commander of a ship and he said, he said [inaudible] they had to do transgender training. They were following a Chinese ship that they were supposed to do and they were told that day they had to stop and train everybody on transgender. Now that might be an important issue, but not in the middle of your job. And they’ve lost sight. … It’s Biden. This is what Biden’s pushing.
Scott said President Joe Biden, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chair Mark Milley have “just become woke” and are more focused on gender and skin color than on having a lethal military force.
Scott’s office did not respond to a request for more details about his story about the captain’s comments.
But a Navy spokesperson did not answer a question about whether what Scott had said was true, but told the American Independent Foundation on Friday:
The U.S. Navy has ships deployed around the world conducting vital missions to include maintaining freedom of the seas. Our ships are capable of conducting these missions while also conducting maintenance on equipment, conducting training for the crew, and ensuring all Sailors are treated with dignity and respect. The Navy is strengthened by the diversity of our people and strives to better represent the nation we serve.
A Pentagon spokesperson told the American Independent Foundation that Scott’s claim was too vague to verify: “Did they have training on a transgender policy? Very possible. Did it occur while tracking a Chinese boat…we have no record of that.”
Scott, who has long been a vocal opponent of LGBTQ equality and inclusion, was repeating a popular GOP mantra that the Biden administration’s military is too weak and “woke” because it has worked to address systemic racism and homophobia, taken steps to curb climate change, and lifted former President Donald Trump’s ban on transgender people serving in the military.
The GOP messaging coincides with a rise in anti-transgender hate crimes and a record number of bills introduced in state legislatures aimed at restricting the rights of transgender and gender-nonconforming Americans.
Scott, who enlisted in the Navy in 1970 and served for 2 1/2 years, told radio host McKay: “My experience in the Navy was that they created unbelievable opportunities for everybody. But guess what, when I was there it was a meritocracy: Bust your butt.”
He did not mention that during his time in the Navy, LGBTQ people were not permitted to serve in the military at all. An estimated 100,000 people were discharged from the U.S. armed forces based on their sexual orientation prior to September 2011, many of them given dishonorable discharges and denied veterans’ benefits.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.
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