During this week’s House Armed Services Committee hearing, Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-FL) slammed Defense Sec. Lloyd Austin, calling him “embarrassing” and “ineffective.”
Gaetz said the requested military budget—around $773 billion — could maybe be used to take remedial actions after what he called a “series of ruined calls” by military leaders in recent months.
“You guys have been ruining a lot of calls in recent weeks on matters of strategy, Mr. Secretary. You said the Taliban couldn’t just win, and so I’m wondering what in $773 billion worth of funding you’re asking for today will help you make correct judgments when so many prior predictions have been wrong?” Gaetz asked.
Austin continued, “You have seen what’s in our budget. You’ve seen how the plan and the budget are aligned, so I’ll let that speak for itself.”
As the two of them continued to talk over each other, Austin pushed back and Gaetz continued to push.
“We’re behind with hypersonics, we failed to push back Russia. Last year, China —” stated Gaetz before Austin interrupted to inquire about his thoughts on the best way to measure “hypersonics.”
“You told us we were behind, and China was winning. Have you heard about the briefings we obtain on hypersonics?” Gaetz inquired, to which Austin retorted, “I am well aware of the briefings that Congress receives.”
“We have time to embrace CRT at West Point, to support socialism at the National Defense University, and now we’ve got two hours of mandated pronoun training. We’ve also had time to debate woke culture, which is a little distracting from more important things like strategy,” said Gaetz.
“It’s the most combat-critical military in the world,” Austin persisted. “It has been so, and it will continue to be so. Not if we follow this path. Not if we embrace socialism,” Gaetz added.
“The fact that you’re ashamed of your country? I’m sorry about that,” Austin responded, but Gaetz interrupted.
“I’m ashamed of your leadership! I am not embarrassed for my nation.” “I wish we were not losing to China… that is absolutely shameful that you would compare your own shortcomings with those of the members of the uniformed services,” he added.