Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) is scolding the U.S. Navy for allowing a sailor who also performs in drag to participate in a recruitment initiative, and she’s particularly worried about what China and Russia think.
“The US Navy is now using drag queens for recruitment,” she wrote. “Do our military leaders understand that China and Russia see this stuff and prepare accordingly?”
“We need a non-woke military. Better yet, an anti-woke military.”
She was referring to a story making the rounds in rightwing media about Yeoman Second Class Joshua Kelley, who is one of several active duty “Digital Ambassadors” selected by the Navy as part of a pilot program to use social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok for recruitment. Kelley is nonbinary and goes by the name Harpy Daniels when in drag.
“From joining to 2016 and being able to share my drag experience on my off time with my fellow sailors has been a blessing,” Kelley wrote in an Instagram post for the Navy last November. It’s not clear why the people concerned about Kelley’s participation in the Digital Ambassador program needed several months to find out about it.
“Thank you to the Navy for giving me this opportunity! I don’t speak for the Navy but simply sharing my experience in the Navy! Hooyah, and let’s go slay!” they wrote.
The idea that the military has become “woke” has been a GOP talking point at least since the Biden administration lifted the ban on transgender people serving openly. Florida is currently considering a bill to send a sternly-worded document to Biden administration officials denouncing the “woke” military. The bill identifies three main examples of military wokeness: the military’s opposition to racism in the workplace and the facts that “openly gay and bisexual men and women have been allowed to serve in the military” and “the ban on transgender individuals serving in the military was lifted.”
Boebert was mocked on Twitter for claiming that a sailor doing drag somehow weakens the military. Others pointed to how Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s (R-CA) proposed budget cuts that have been criticized by Democrats for including a 22% funding cut to the Veterans Health Administration. Others pointed to her lack of military service.