Rep. Matt Gaetz went off on Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin during testimony over the Defense Department’s nearly $800 billion budget, at one point saying during the blistering exchange that he was “ashamed” of Austin’s “leadership.”
The heated back-and-forth began during Gaetz’s allotted time, during which he began by railing against the Pentagon’s increasingly ‘woke’ training agenda since President Joe Biden took office.
He then pivoted to “blown calls” — incorrect assessments — that the SECDEF and the Pentagon, in general, have made regarding the war between Russia and Ukraine, as well as Afghanistan prior to Biden’s chaotic and deadly pullout in late August.
“You guys have been blowing a lot of calls lately on matters of strategy, Mr… Secretary. You guys told us that Russia couldn’t lose, that the Taliban couldn’t immediately win. I guess I’m wondering, what about the $773 billion that you’re requesting today is going to help you make assessments that are accurate in the face of so many blown calls?” Gaetz asked.
A stunned Austin paused for several moments before responding, “You’ve seen what’s in our budget, you’ve seen how the budget matches the strategy, and so I’ll let that speak for itself.”
“I mean, I’ve also seen that we’re behind in hypersonics, we failed to deter Russia,” Gaetz said, prompting a back-and-forth with Austin in with both men talking over each other.
Here is how the exchange went:
A: What do you mean, we’re behind in hypersonics?
G: Who is ahead in hypersonics?
A: How do you make that assessment?
G: I don’t know. I make that assessment because China is fielding hypersonic weapon systems and we are still developing them. I make that assessment because Russia – by the way, your own people brief us that we are behind and that China is winning. Are you aware of the briefings we get on hypersonics?
A: I am certainly aware of briefings we provide to Congress.
G: It’s all over the world. It’s in Taiwan where China flew more than ever before, it’s North Korea, on pace to shatter prior records, the number of missiles they are testing. While everyone else in the world seems to be developing capabilities and being more strategic, we’ve got time to embrace Critical Race Theory at west point, to do mandatory pronoun training.
A: You know, again, this is the most capable, the most combat-critical force in the world. It has been and it will be so going forward.
G: Not if we continue down this path.
A: The fact that you’re embarrassed by your country –
G: I’m embarrassed by your leadership! I am not embarrassed for my country. I wish we weren’t losing to China.
A: That’s what you’re saying.
G: That is so disgraceful that you would sit here and conflate your failures with the failures of the uniform service members. You guys said that Russia would overrun Ukraine in 36 days. You said that the Taliban would be kept at bay for months. You totally blew those calls. And maybe we would be better at home if The National defense university actually worked a little more on strategy and a little less on wokism.
A: Has it occurred to you that Russia has not overrun Ukraine because of what we’ve seen and what our allies have done?
WATCH THE EXCHANGE HERE:
🚨Matt Gaetz drops MOAB on woke Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin:
“I'm embarrassed by YOUR leadership! I’m not embarrassed for my country. It's disgraceful that you would sit here & conflate your failures with those of uniformed service members.” 🇺🇸