Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin seriously schooled Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-FL) during a congressional hearing today after the extremist right-wing accused sex trafficker raised questions about the credibility of Defense Department assessments of the progress of the brutal Rusian invasion of Ukraine.
Rep. Gaetz accused the Pentagon of blowing multiple calls in its analysis of how the invasion would progress and blamed it all on what he called the Defense Department’s efforts at political correctness as the military attempts to conform with contemporary social mores.
“You guys said that Russia would overrun Ukraine in 36 days,” the combative Florida lawmaker told the Defense Secretary. “You said that the Taliban woiuld be kept at bay for months. You totally blew those calls, and, maybe we would be better at them if the National Defense University actually worked a little more on strategy and a little less on “woke-ism,” Gaetz concluded his tirade.
As the first African American man to serve as Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin has learned to have a thick skin when it comes to critics whose racial sensibilities seemingly align with the most blatant white supremacists currently infecting the Republican Party.
Still, Gaetz’s loaded allegations caused a fit of obvious anger to rise up in Austin’s countenance as he pointed out the defectiveness of the Florida congressman’s overly constricted thought processes.
“Has it occurred to you that Russia has not overrun Ukraine because of what we’ve done? And our allies have done? Have you ever even thought about that?” the Defense Secretary indignantly replied to Gaetz’s flawed analysis.
Gaetz himself would not let go of the bone that he had clenched his jaws around.
“That was baked into your flawed assessment,” he exclaimed over protestations from Austin. “And so, I saw that the Obama administration tried to destroy our military by starving it of resources, and it seems the Biden administration is trying to destroy our military by force feeding it “woke-ism.”
Struggling to be heard over Gaetz’s partisan propaganda, Austin incredulously asked a question that exposed the covert support of Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine that has taken root among many people on the right after a nightly diet of Tucker Carlson’s Russophile fanboy act on Fox News.
“The fact that we helped Ukraine is a flawed assessment?” the Defense Secretary asked as if he could not believe his ears.
It was a question that Gaetz neglected to answer before finishing up his unfounded accusations and yielding back his time.
It’s a shame that Republicans like Gaetz have turned the serious business of legislative oversight into a form of performance art devoted to reinforcing partisan right-wing political tropes and burnishing their reputations among the regular consumers of Fox News sound bites.
At least we can be thankful for the fact that they are currently still a minority party in the federal government, at least.
Unless we make every effort to keep Republicans in the minority in the next Congress, our nation may find itself in much the same position as the people of Ukraine, struggling to retain a democracy in the face of authoritarian leaders who want to rule by fear and fiat and destroy our freedoms.
You can watch the exchange between Congressman Matt Gaetz and Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin in the video excerpt below.
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL): “You guys said that Russia would overrun Ukraine in 36 days.”
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin: “Has it occurred to you that Russia has not overrun Ukraine because of what we’ve done? And our allies have done? Have you ever even thought about that?” pic.twitter.com/Wigdb37aSg
— The Recount (@therecount) April 5, 2022
Vinnie Longobardo is the Managing Editor of Occupy Democrats. He's a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music, and art.