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Matt Gaetz Kills DEI Woke Defense Bill

Note: This article may contain commentary or the author's opinion.

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) on Wednesday successfully fought — and killed — a Democrat amendment to a defense bill that would have required defense contractors to report on the racial, ethnic, and gender diversity of their board of directors, as well as submit their plans on diversity. 

Gaetz has been a leading advocate in the House against wokeness in the military and working alongside Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN), was determined to kill the amendment, which was proposed by Rep. Anthony Brown (D-MD). The amendment would have required defense contractors with Pentagon contracts over $150,000 to present these reports to Congress. 

“This is a doubledown on wokeness in the military,” Gaetz argued. “It extends the wokeness in the military to a mandate on the private sector that supports the mission.”  

Gaetz warned Democrats on the House Armed Services Committee against supporting the amendment by saying the following:

“This will be the amendment that I see in the package that we will consider today that will drive Republicans off of this bill. And you know, you need Republicans to pass this bill on the floor. You may need a few to pass it in this committee. And if this is in there, I’m telling it’s going to be like the red flag laws last year. It will make it incredibly difficult to do the otherwise fantastic work that so many of us have contributed to this legislative product.”

He then went on with a warning for his fellow Republicans:

“This is precisely the type of amendment that should drive you off this bill. It really is. If this becomes law, we are waving the white flag of surrender on these issues. And I don’t want to have to explain to our colleagues on the floor how we let something like this get into a legislative bill on the floor of the House of Representatives. We should not do it. We should stand strong against this. And there are so many good things we can do without trying to mandate wokeism to defense contractors of all sides.”

When the HASC Chairman, Adam Smith (D-WA), called a vote on the amendment, it failed 29-30.  Fellow Floridian Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL), and Elaine Luria (D-VA), joined Republicans and voted against this amendment.

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Two months ago, Matt Gaetz came under fire for his rant against wokeism in the military after a heated exchange with Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. Gaetz said that he was “embarrassed” by Austin’s leadership while accusing the Department of Defense of promoting socialism, critical race theory, and “mandatory pronoun training” during a House Armed Services hearing. The Florida Republican has taken aim at Austin in the past, saying he “might be the stupidest person” to ever serve in a presidential Cabinet during a speech he gave in 2021.  As sad as it is to make this assessment of the Secretary of Defense, Sadly, I am inclined to agree with Matt Gaetz on this. 

“Matt Gaetz just absolutely destroyed Secretary Lloyd Austin on wokeism and failed leadership in the military,” actor and “Stop the Steal” organizer Daniel Bostic tweeted.