Top US general fires back at critics of critical race theory, calls out ‘white rage’

Gen. Mark Milley, America's highest-ranking uniformed officer, defended the idea of open-mindedness.

The highest-ranking uniformed officer in America’s military defended the idea of open-mindedness among the ranks against Republican members of Congress who have insinuated that the U.S. Army is “too woke.”

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley, in testimony at a hearing Wednesday on the Defense Department budget, said — in comments that have since gone viral — “I personally find it offensive that we are accusing the United States military … of being ‘woke’ or something else because we’re studying some theories that are out there.”

U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley testifies during a hearing before the House Committee on Armed Services Wednesday on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

In a lengthy introduction, Republican Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz claimed the military’s introduction of the study of extremism and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin’s one-day stand-down order is the “number one” complaint he hears from service members. He ultimately asked how the department should think about critical race theory. After Austin had his say, in which he noted that he’s received far more troop support for their efforts than gripes, Milley was given a chance to also respond.

He told the lawmakers he believed members of the U.S. Army should be “open-minded and be widely read.”

At least five service members are facing federal charges for allegedly participating in the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol insurrection, including an active-duty Marine Corps officer who has been arrested, two part-time soldiers in the Army Reserve and two in the National Guard.

Milley said it is important for leadership to understand the idea of “white rage.”

“I want to understand white rage — and I’m white,” Milley told Congress. “What is it that caused thousands of people to assault this building and try to overturn the Constitution of the United States of America?”

In a more blunt assessment, Milley said, “I’ve read Mao Tse Tung. I’ve read Karl Marx. I’ve read Lenin. That doesn’t make me a communist. So what is wrong with understanding, having some situational understanding about the country for which we are here to defend?”

Gaetz shook his head in disagreement as Milley spoke. The congressman — who’s currently under federal investigation for potential sex trafficking and soliciting underage women for sex — later posted the general’s assertions on Twitter, writing, “With Generals like this it’s no wonder we’ve fought considerably more wars than we’ve won.”

He challenged Austin, decrying his military-wide stand-down order in which units took one day out of their normal duties to discuss extremism in their ranks as a major troop complaint.

Gen. Lloyd Austin Image: Getty Images

“Thanks for your anecdotal input,” Austin replied. “But I would say that I have gotten 10 times that amount of input, 50 times that amount of input, on the other side that has said, ‘Hey, we’re glad to have had the ability to have a conversation with ourselves and with our leadership.'”

He told Gaetz the U.S. military does “not teach critical race theory,” adding, “We don’t embrace critical race theory, and I think that’s a spurious conversation.” He said the military is “focused on extremist behaviors and not ideology, not people’s thoughts, not people’s political orientation.”

Milley’s comments drew the ire of Fox News hosts, who tore into him Thursday, The Ingraham Angle host Laura Ingraham even hinting at defunding the military.

“We are sending our tax dollars to this military in an attempt to weed out so-called extremists, which just means conservative Evangelicals, as far as I can tell,” Ingraham said. “The fact is, Milley has made his choice,” she said at another point. “And he’s chosen to indulge the radical whims of Democrats. He’ll do everything they tell him as long as they keep the military-industrial complex flush with cash.”

“He’s not just a pig,” Tucker Carlson said of the Princeton and Columbia University-educated Milley. “He’s stupid.”

Have you subscribed to theGrio’s “Dear Culture” podcast? Download our newest episodes now!
TheGrio is now on Apple TV, Amazon Fire and Roku. Download today!