Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin sparred with a House Republican after he accused the lawmaker of being embarrassed by his country.
During a House hearing on Tuesday, Austin was confronted by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) about assessments from the military that were “blown.”
“You guys told us that Russia couldn’t lose, you told us that the Taliban couldn’t immediately win,” Gaetz noted.
He asked, “What in the $773 billion that you’re requesting today is going to help you make assessments that are accurate in the face of so many blown calls?”
Austin responded, “You’ve seen what’s in our budget. You’ve seen how the budget matches the strategy. And so I’ll let that speak for itself.”
The Florida Congressman went on to insist that the U.S. is “behind on hypersonic” missiles.
That assertion did not sit well with Austin who asked, “How do you make that assessment? Is it one-for-one? Are you talking about development capabilities?”
Gaetz went on to claim that lawmakers have been briefed that the U.S. is “behind and that China is winning” around the world.
“It’s in Taiwan where China last year flew more sorties than ever before. It’s North Korea on pace to shatter prior records [for] the number of missiles they’re testing,” he said.
Watch the video below:
Secretary Austin: "This is the most capable, the most capable combat critical force in the world…the fact that you are embarrassed by your country–"
Rep. Matt Gaetz: "No. I am embarrassed by your leadership!" pic.twitter.com/U3H1S99GTv
— CSPAN (@cspan) April 5, 2022
The Congressman continued, “So while everyone else in the world seems to be developing capabilities and being more strategic, we’ve got time to embrace critical race theory at West Point, to embrace socialism at the National Defense University, to do mandatory pronoun training.”
“This is the most capable, the most capable combat critical force in the world. It has been and it will be so going forward…The fact that you are embarrassed by your country, I’m sorry for that,” Austin fired back.
However, Gaetz interjected to refute the claim that he was embarrassed by the U.S.
“No, no, no, I’m embarrassed by your leadership! I’m not embarrassed by my country,” he said.
Austin responded by suggesting Gaetz was indeed stating that he was embarrassed by the U.S
“That’s what you’re saying,” he claimed.
Gaetz’s comments about failed assessments refer to reports that the Biden administration was surprised by how quickly the Taliban took over Afghanistan last year. Additionally, he pointed to predictions that Russia could take over Ukraine in a matter of days.
Finally, he claimed the Biden administration is “trying to destroy our military by force-feeding it wokeism.”
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