Gen Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke on critical race theory in response to questioning from Florida representatives during a House Armed Services Committee budget hearing in Washington on June 23.
Milley, who was testifying alongside Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin at the hearing, was responding to Florida representatives Michael Waltz, a former Army Green Beret, and Matt Gaetz.
“I do think it’s important, actually, for those of us in uniform to be open-minded and be widely read,” Gen Milley said of critical race theory. “And the United States Military Academy is a university. And it is important that we train and we understand – and I want to understand white rage. And I’m white …. So, what is it that caused thousands of people to assault this building and try to overturn the Constitution of the United States of America? What caused that? I want to find that out.”
Gen Milley went on to say, “I’ve read Mao Zedong, 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? And I personally find it offensive that we are accusing the United States Military – our general officers, our commissioned and noncommissioned officers – of being ‘woke’ because we’re studying some theories that are out there.”
Gaetz’s questions were also directed toward Austin, who responded, “I trust my leadership from top to bottom, that they will give me fair and balanced and unvarnished input.”
During Gen Milley’s response, Gaetz was seen shaking his head and was criticized online for his reaction. Credit: CSPAN via Storyful