Military leaders excoriated Rep. Matt Gaetz during a House hearing on Wednesday after the Florida Republican raised questions about critical race theory being taught to the nation’s soldiers.
“We do not teach critical race theory, we don’t embrace critical theory and I think that is a spurious conversation,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told Gaetz during a House Armed Services Committee hearing. “And so we are focused on extremism behaviors and not ideology, not people’s thoughts, not people’s political orientations.” Gaetz and other Republican lawmakers on the committee had criticized reports that the U.S. Military Academy teaches a course involving critical race theory.
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Gaetz alleges that he has heard from soldiers who have taken issue with the subject being taught. However, Austin curtly responded to that suggestion. “And thanks for your anecdotal input, but I would say I’ve gotten 10 times that amount of input, 50 times the amount of input on the other side that have said, ‘We are glad to have had a conversation with ourselves and our leadership,’” Austin said, reiterating that they do not teach the subject. “I trust my leadership from top to bottom.”