DeSantis’ latest policy plan, this time on the military, again focuses on ‘woke’

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis unveiled a sweeping plan on Tuesday to “rip the woke out of the military” and restore a “mission first” vision for American servicemembers, claiming that liberal political and social agendas had weakened the country’s ability to defend itself.

Speaking in Columbia, S.C., DeSantis vowed to reinstate U.S. service members who refused to comply with a coronavirus vaccine mandate, saying that the military erred in requiring its members to receive the vaccine. He also promised to rid the military of a long list of policies and priorities, including diversity and inclusion efforts and climate and environmental considerations.

The goal, DeSantis said, is to return the military to its “core mission.”

“We’re now in a situation where we find ourselves seeing the military go down a very different path,” he said. “It’s a military that has been ordered by civilian officials to pursue political ideology, to pursue social experimentation, to be yet another institution in American life that gets infected with the woke mind virus.”

The plan touches on the same theme that has defined DeSantis’ 2024 presidential campaign: that the federal government and its institutions have been overrun by liberal ideologues and are in desperate need of reform.

He vowed to ban drag shows on military bases, prohibit transgender people from serving in the military under their preferred gender and require military members to meet gender-neutral physical qualifications.

DeSantis also took aim at the curriculum of U.S. service academies, saying he would defund and ban any courses associated with so-called “Critical Race Theory” and ensure that the academies are focused on what he described as “appropriate fields of study.”

“We need our service academies to stand apart from that, we need to be different and we need to make sure they’re upholding martial values and martial education,” DeSantis said.

In outlining his plan, DeSantis pitched his vision for the military as a matter of national security. He blamed what he described as the “politicization” of the military for its recruitment struggles and claimed that America’s adversaries, like China, “are laughing in our face.”

“The more and more you inject this political agenda into the military, you are giving China a competitive advantage,” DeSantis said.

The plan to reconfigure the country’s military was the latest proposal released by DeSantis in recent weeks. Late last month, he rolled out a border security and immigration plan that called for deputizing state and local law enforcement to enforce immigration law, finishing construction of a wall along the U.S. southern border and establishing “rules of engagement” for shooting suspected drug traffickers crossing into the U.S.

He’s also spoken frequently about tearing down and rebuilding the federal bureaucracy — a plan that would include moving many federal agencies and employees away from Washington, D.C., firing federal workers regardless of civil service protections and even eliminating entire government agencies, like the IRS and Department of Education.

The slew of policy proposals come as DeSantis struggles to gain traction in the race for the 2024 presidential nomination. Since launching his campaign in May, the Florida governor has failed to make up ground with the race’s frontrunner, former President Donald Trump.

That DeSantis chose South Carolina as the place to roll out his military plan was notable in itself. The state boasts a large military population and hosts the first-in-the-South presidential primary.