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Space Force commander ousted over right-wing podcast rant

Space Force commander ousted over right-wing podcast rant

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Despite Donald Trump’s efforts to politicize the military through his last-minute personnel appointments at the end of his presidency, the independence of the Pentagon from the influence of partisan politics remains a point of pride for the military’s leadership.

Thus, the announcement that a senior member of the recently created Space Force was relieved of his leadership duties over comments he made while promoting his new book on a podcast devoted to right-wing political views offered an opportunity for the Pentagon to reemphasize its dedication to remaining above the political fray while presenting an opportunity for some Republican legislators to scream “cancel culture” over a fellow traveler’s facing of the consequences of their behavior.

Lt. Col. Matthew Lohmeier may now regret appearing on The Steve Gruber Show to promote his new book Irresistible Revolution: Marxism’s Goal of Conquest & the Unmaking of the American Military, in which Lohmeier laments the creeping Marxism that he claims is slowly infiltrating the beliefs of American service members.

“Since taking command as a commander about 10 months ago, I saw what I consider fundamentally incompatible and competing narratives of what America was, is and should be,” Lohmeier said. “That wasn’t just prolific in social media, or throughout the country during this past year, but it was spreading throughout the United States military. And I had recognized those narratives as being Marxist in nature.”

Lt. Col. Lohmeier went on to explain that media narratives like The New York Times1619 Project — which investigates just how slavery helped form critical institutions in our nation’s ruling structures — are somehow “anti-American.”

“It teaches intensive teaching that I heard at my base — that at the time the country ratified the United States Constitution, it codified White supremacy as the law of the land,” Lohmeier claimed. “If you want to disagree with that, then you start [being] labeled all manner of things including racist.”

Lt. Col. Lohmeier’s superiors at the Space Force were not impressed with his paranoid claims and his injection of partisan Republican talking points into the media landscape while representing the armed forces.

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A Defense Department official issued a statement explaining why they were relieving Lt. Col. Lohmeier of his command post in the Space Force after his podcast remarks.

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“Lt. Gen. Stephen Whiting, Space Operations Command commander, relieved Lt. Col. Matthew Lohmeier of command of the 11th Space Warning Squadron, Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado, May 14, due to loss of trust and confidence in his ability to lead,” the Defense Department official told CNN. “This decision was based on public comments made by Lt. Col. Lohmeier in a recent podcast. Lt. Gen. Whiting has initiated a Command Directed Investigation (CDI) on whether these comments constituted prohibited partisan political activity.

A different Defense Department spokesperson indicated that the Pentagon investigation of the errant Lt. Colonel would probe the circumstances that led to the publication of Lohmeier’s book in the context of explicit rules that require clearance from the military’s chain of command for a work by an active-duty officer, particularly since a marketing blurb about the book on Amazon describes it as a “timely and bold contribution from an active-duty Space Force lieutenant colonel who sees the impact of a new-Marxist agenda at the ground level within our armed forces.”

Unsurprisingly, GOP legislators in Congress leaped to Lt. Col. Lohmeier’s defense in a barrage of social media posts decrying his demotion.

Congressman Ken Buck was among the first of the right-wing members of Congress to call the Space Force commander’s ouster an outrage.

Lt. Col. Lohmeier might not be as happy to see that one of his other most vocals defenders is a congressman currently under investigation for the sex trafficking across state lines of a minor for his own illicit pleasure.

Gaetz’s tweet was a sad reminder that despite the extremely credible allegations against the Florida lawmaker, he retains his seat in Congress and membership on multiple House committees while Republicans are too busy removing someone who tells the truth about Donald Trump’s election lies from its leadership.

The Pentagon should be commended for enforcing its regulations on the permissible behavior of its senior officers in the face of partisan political interference.

With convincing stories about the proliferation of white nationalist views among members of our armed forces circulating in the media, it’s encouraging to see that the Pentagon is taking its responsibilities to ensure that the active military refrains from taking political sides seriously.

If only senior Republican leadership would enforce similar consequences for those members of the GOP who espouse similar views to that of the demoted Space Force commander.

Follow Vinnie Longobardo on Twitter. 

Original reporting by Kristen Holmes and Barbara Starr at CNN.

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