A Marine Corps Twitter account over the weekend lashed out at a civilian that suggested the service focus on China and not Tucker Carlson, then later apologized for the tweet after it received widespread scrutiny.
The move came after Carlson delivered a monologue last week commenting that China was focusing on making its young men more masculine, while President Joe Biden was focusing on reforms to make the military more accommodating to women, such as maternity flight suits.
Progressives in the military expressed anger over those comments, claiming Carlson was attacking women in the military.
Military commanders and senior enlisted leaders began commenting on Twitter en masse, slamming Carlson’s comments and speaking about the importance of women in the military.
The Marine Corps’ Twitter account for the II Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) Information Group (IG) joined in on criticizing Carlson, tweeting:
“What it looks like in today’s armed forces @TuckerCarlson. Get right before you get left, boomer,” with a photo of a female Marine carrying another female Marine.
After a Twitter user by the name of “Scott Malkinson” tweeted: “Please focus on China and not Tucker,” the Marine Corps account responded: “Come back when you’ve served and been pregnant.”
Come back when you’ve served and been pregnant
— II MEF Information Group (@iimigofficial) March 12, 2021
The tweets received widespread public condemnation for their suggestions that a media figure or civilian could not criticize or comment on military affairs without being attacked or ridiculed by the military — an undermining of the American principle of civilian rule over the military.
The II MEF IG account quickly sent a series of apologies for its tweets.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) on Sunday sent a letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin over the matter. He wrote:
Multiple military leaders have tweeted video of themselves, while in uniform, as they attack Carlson, including the Command Senior Enlisted Leader of U.S. Space Command, the Sgt. Major of the Army, the Commanding General of the U.S. Army Maneuver Center of Excellence, and the commanding officer of the II Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) Information Group (IG). Throughout this campaign, military leaders have suggested and insinuated that it is out of bounds for civilians to criticize the military unless they’ve served.
This spectacle risks politicizing the military after several centuries of efforts to keep military officials out of domestic affairs, undermining civil-military relations by having the military take a side in a contentious cultural dispute, and the perception that military leaders are happily weaponizing the institution against political critics of the sitting administration. This kind of behavior, while perhaps typical in a military-controlled Third World country, is completely unacceptable in the United States of America.
Furthermore, these actions run the risk of creating a culture of contempt for our country’s civilian leadership within the enlisted ranks and among junior officers which will be corrosive to the good order and discipline of the military.
At times the campaign has been conducted in a way that is far beneath the dignity of the United States military. The official website of the Defense Department catalogued a statement by Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby under the headline ‘Press Secretary Smites Fox Host That Dissed Diversity in U.S. Military’ and declared that Carlson had issued ‘insults to the entire U.S. military.’
II MEF constitutes a third of the Marine Corps’ war fighting capability, and so II MEF IG is the public facing public affairs unit for entirety of the east facing combat force for Marines. The official Twitter account of the II MEF IG posted absurd statements insulting Carlson, and which included criticizing Carlson’s age, and then told another private citizen who responded to that attack to ‘[c]ome back when you’ve served and been pregnant.’
I cannot imagine how any of the above behavior can be explained, and I am deeply concerned about what it portends for the direction that you and President Biden intend to move the military.
Cruz also requested a meeting with the Commandant of the Marine Corps in person to discuss these issues.
After Cruz’s letter, II MEF IG deleted its tweets.
— Kristina Wong 🇺🇸 (@kristina_wong) March 14, 2021