General nominated for Space Command chief defends firing of colonel who criticized Marxist training in the military

The three-star general nominated to head the U.S. Space Command declined to endorse the Biden administration’s diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) policies in the military at a Senate hearing on Wednesday.

Space Force Lt. Gen. Stephen N. Whiting, whom President Biden nominated this month to be the force’s second commander, also defended his firing of an officer who went public with criticisms of the Pentagon leadership’s campaign to impose diversity in the military, calling it Marxist ideological subversion. . . . .

. . . . Sen. Schmitt then raised the case of now-retired Space Force Lt. Col. Matthew Lohmeier, whom Gen. Whiting relieved of duty in May 2021. Gen. Whiting said he acted because Col. Lohmeier criticized DEI training in the military as “rooted in Marxism” during an appearance on a conservative podcast while on active duty. He continued to air his criticisms after being ordered not to do so, officials said.

In addition to his public criticism of DEI training, Col. Lohmeier was removed from command for criticizing “specific political parties,” Gen. Whiting said.

Questioned by Mr. Schmitt, Gen. Whiting said that opposition to DEI policies does not constitute partisan political speech unless the comments advocate for a specific political party or candidate.

Col. Lohmeier’s case “involved a specific quote involving a specific political party,” Gen. Whiting said, adding that the offending podcast was an hour long.

A review of the podcast appearance shows Col. Lohmeier spoke for about 10 minutes on the “Steve Gruber Show” podcast. The colonel was promoting a book he authored, “Irresistible Revolution: Marxism’s Goal of Conquest & the Unmaking of the American Military.”

During the appearance, there were no references to any political party or his chain of command.

Col. Lohmeier, who left the service in September 2021, said in an email that he was fired by Gen. Whiting, then chief of operations at Space Command, for two reasons. One was for political partisanship while acting in an official capacity, and the second was for publicly criticizing his chain of command.

“Those were the reasons Whiting gave me over the phone when he called to fire me,” Col. Lohmeier said. “Both of those reasons are false — never did either of those things.”

Col. Lohmeier said the general’s testimony at the hearing “clearly demonstrated that Whiting himself was unwilling to affirm his support for the [Defense Department’s] DEI initiatives and trainings.”

“He was asked several different ways if he supported DoD’s DEI initiatives and, instead of affirming his support, said something that nobody could disagree with; specifically, he said that he cared about developing a lethal and ready force.”

The comments indicate that Gen. Whiting shares his view that “this woke DEI push” has hurt recruitment, retention and readiness efforts in the military, Col. Lohmeier said.

“It is unfortunate that Whiting felt sufficient institutional and cultural pressure in 2021 to make the decision to fire me for publicly sharing a nonpartisan view that he likely holds himself,” he said.

“It is more unfortunate still that our senior leaders lack the courage to speak their minds despite the damage our current policies are inflicting.”

Bill Gertz/Washington Times

 


Watch:

 


Transcript

Sen. Eric Schmitt

Thank you, Madam Chair. General Whiting, in speaking in support of DEI initiatives, General Brown said that quote, “there’s still a lot to do because this is a cultural shift. This isn’t something you can get done in just a couple of years.” Do you believe that General Brown should be relieved of his command because of those statements?

Lt. Gen. Stephen Whiting

Senator, no, I do not.

Sen. Eric Schmitt

General Milley, in speaking in support of DEI initiatives, said, quote, “it’s diversity to improve the system, improve the military, improve our problem-solving capabilities, and improve our war fighting readiness in order to protect and defend the Constitution. That’s why it’s so important, so fundamental that we have this as one of our elements as we move forward to continue to develop the joint force.” Do you believe General Milley should be relieved of his command?

Lt. Gen. Stephen Whiting

Senator, no, I do not.

Sen. Eric Schmitt

Do you believe that’s partisan political speech?

Lt. Gen. Stephen Whiting

Senator, no, I do not.

Sen. Eric Schmitt

Lieutenant Colonel Lohmeier said, our DEI industry and trainings we’re receiving in the military via the industry are rooted in critical race theory, which is rooted in Marxism. He was relieved of his command for those statements, correct,

Lt. Gen. Stephen Whiting

Senator, that’s correct.

Sen. Eric Schmitt

By you, right?

Lt. Gen. Stephen Whiting

Senator, there were other comments regarding specific political parties that are in addition to what you just quoted.

Sen. Eric Schmitt

This was from the podcast, which was cited by you. So I’m asking, is opposition to DEI partisan political speech?

Lt. Gen. Stephen Whiting

Senator, no, it’s not, unless it advocates for a specific political party or candidate.

Sen. Eric Schmitt

Okay, well, I would agree with that. So your testimony today is Lieutenant Colonel Lohmeier was relieved for something other than these statements on the podcast, or was that part of your consideration?

Lt. Gen. Stephen Whiting

Senator, it involved a specific quote involving a specific political party.

Sen. Eric Schmitt

In his free time or on duty?

Lt. Gen. Stephen Whiting

It was on a podcast where he associated himself or he identified himself as an active duty space force officer and commander.

Sen. Eric Schmitt

Okay, so there were other comments that other than this one I read to you about DEI?

Lt. Gen. Stephen Whiting

Senator I think that podcast was about an hour long.

Sen. Eric Schmitt

Okay, well, we’ll follow up with some of our questions. I want to ask you, do you support DEI initiatives in the military?

Lt. Gen. Stephen Whiting

Senator I support a ready, lethal force that draws from the best talent all across America.

Sen. Eric Schmitt

Okay, that’s not my question. I support that, too, but that’s not what DEI is. DEI is rooted in cultural Marxism. So I’m asking you, do you support DEI initiatives in the military?

Lt. Gen. Stephen Whiting

Senator I support a merit-based approach to finding the best people across this country.

Sen. Eric Schmitt

That’s not DEI either. So do you support DEI initiatives in the military?

Lt. Gen. Stephen Whiting

Senator based on how it is defined, I want to find the best people across anywhere in this country, geographically or any demographic who can support the defense of this nation.

Sen. Eric Schmitt

Do you believe that our brave military men and women should be pitted against one another based solely on their race?

Lt. Gen. Stephen Whiting

No, sir, I do not.

Sen. Eric Schmitt

Do you believe or do you accept the proposition that General Brown, in his August of 2022 memo that we should have racial quotas with officer class?

Lt. Gen. Stephen Whiting

Senator, I am not aware that General Brown has said that.

Sen. Eric Schmitt

If General Brown said that we should have a reduction in number of white officers serving to 67% of officers down from I think it’s a total of 5400 officers. Do you support that?

Lt. Gen. Stephen Whiting

Senator I support that promotion should be based on merit.

Sen. Eric Schmitt

Okay, so you don’t support the idea that we would have racial quotas for the officer class?

Lt. Gen. Stephen Whiting

That’s correct, Senator.

Sen. Eric Schmitt

I do want to ask you also, what role do you think DEI . . . what’s your experience, firsthand for you? What have you seen in these trainings? What have been the trainings that have taken place? I’m not talking about reaching for the best and the brightest. I want to understand because we have a military recruitment problem, right? And so the issue, I think, is if people view–and this is coming from the Department of Defense and it’s been widely talked about in this committee–if people view that politics is being infused in our military, do you think that that would hurt recruitment?

Lt. Gen. Stephen Whiting

Sir, I do. And I think the military must be rigorously apolitical and nonpartisan.

Sen. Eric Schmitt

Do you think infusing abortion politics into our military hurts our recruiting?

Lt. Gen. Stephen Whiting

Sir, we in the military should not be partisan or political.

Sen. Eric Schmitt

Do you think infusing COVID politics into our military hurts our recruiting? Meaning do you think that people should have been fired for not getting the vaccine?

Lt. Gen. Stephen Whiting

Sir, we are required to uphold a legal order.

Sen. Eric Schmitt

Do you think we should actively recruit those 8500 people who were fired for not getting the vaccine?

Lt. Gen. Stephen Whiting

Sir, I would like to see those individuals who can come back apply to come back, yes, sir.

Sen. Eric Schmitt

Do you think we should recruit them to come back?

Lt. Gen. Stephen Whiting

Yes, sir.

Sen. Eric Schmitt

Okay, and then do you believe that . . . Are you familiar with the August memo of 2022 from General Brown?

Lt. Gen. Stephen Whiting

I am not, sir.

Sen. Eric Schmitt

Okay, in some follow up questions we’ll ask you your points of view on that.

Lt. Gen. Stephen Whiting

Thank you, sir. Thank you.

Matt Lohmeier is a 2006 graduate of the US Air Force Academy, flew  fighter jets and last served as a US Space Force Lt. Colonel in space-based missile warning. He’s now a consultant and public speaker warning America about Marxist ideology infecting the military. Matt is the author of the best-selling book “Irresistible Revolution: Marxism’s Goal of Conquest & the Unmaking of the American Military.”

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