A tweet from the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) riled up social media on Sunday for characterizing the Pentagon's diversity and inclusion initiative as "a strategic imperative critical to mission readiness and accomplishment."
The DoD's official Twitter account shared footage from a diversity training Sunday morning as part of the agency's diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiative, which has come under fire from Republicans, service members and veterans for promoting what they describe as woke "anti-American" ideology.
"Diversity is a strategic imperative critical to mission readiness and accomplishment," the DoD tweet said alongside the video. "We were on site for the 2023 inaugural @DoD_ODEI Summit as DEIA experts led forums to advance the DEIA and DoD mission -- because our people matter."
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The tweet prompted a fierce reaction from critics on Twitter, catching the attention of the platform's CEO, who accused the agency of losing sight of its "strategic imperative." Other users slammed the DEI seminars as a waste of taxpayer money, saying the DOD’s focus on diversity and inclusion under Biden is weakening America’s defense and tanking recruitment.
"Your strategic imperative is defending the United States," Twitter CEO Elon Musk responded.
"Your entire mission is to deter an attack on the US homeland, and if there is a war, to effectively and efficiently destroy the enemies of the United States. That’s it," Jeremy Redfern, deputy press secretary to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and retired explosive ordnance disposal technician in the U.S. Air Force, agreed.
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"China will lay down their arms immediately when they see how inclusive the US military is," a user known by the handle The Redheaded libertarian joked.
Blair Brandt, a political advisor and entrepreneur tweeted, "Absolutely ridiculous and totally unrelated to the quite significant national security threats we face. China and Russia are laughing at you/us and when we encounter big ticket problems, people will look at this moment and posts like this to see where our priorities went wrong."
Florida State Board of Education member Ryan Petty responded, "@DeptofDefense @DoD_ODEI DE&I have zero to do with defending the homeland. You are wasting taxpayer funds."
Conservative journalist Ian Miles Cheong quipped, "Good job shooting down hobby balloons," referencing reports that the U.S. Air Force may have mistakenly shot down a balloon belonging to an Illinois-based hobbyist club.
"Diversity is a strategic imperative critical to mission readiness". This is completely untrue and it's quite concerning that this theater is permitted in the DoD," River CEO Alexander Leishman wrote.
President Biden's administration has enacted a sweeping diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility (DEIA) agenda since he took office.
In late September, the Pentagon announced a new defense advisory committee on diversity and inclusion, which will provide advice and recommendations on "matters and policies relating to the improvement of racial/ethnic diversity, inclusion and equal opportunity within the department." A week later, DOD released a 37-page plan to promote DEI.
Two months after that, Fox News found that the DoD spent $91,000 on diversity and inclusion seminars for the Air Force Band, which has 184 active-duty members.
Fox News' Kelly Laco contributed to this report.