Republican Representative Jim Banks from Indiana has raised concerns about the Defense Department's backing of drag shows in the military by questioning Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, as per the Daily Caller News Foundation. Banks criticized Austin in a letter obtained by the news outlet for reportedly stating that the DOD does not support drag shows while the Navy picked Yeoman 2nd Class Joshua Kelley, who runs a drag queen social media account and has performed on Navy ships, to participate as its first "Digital Ambassador."
🚨EXCLUSIVE🚨 from @micaela_burrow @RepJimBanks Presses Pentagon On Sailor's 'Explicit' Performances After Austin Denied Supporting Drag Shows https://t.co/J3VEN7nMTw
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) May 4, 2023
Banks asked Austin in the letter if he thinks TikTok videos of sailors performing in drag are the best way to recruit for the Navy. Banks argues that Austin's testimony on March 29, denying support for sexual content in the military, is now inconsistent since the Navy has permitted such content on its ships.
The Navy's inaugural digital ambassador, Harpy Daniels (Joshua Kelley's stage name), was "handpicked," and the program was launched in October 2022. A Navy spokesperson has confirmed that the program aimed to expand the Navy's digital presence and ran on a volunteer basis until March 2023, with five active-duty personnel participating. Kelley's TikTok bio states that his views are not endorsed by the U.S. Navy or the DOD.
When questioned by Republican Representative Matt Gaetz from Florida, Austin confirmed that the DOD does not endorse or fund drag shows. However, Banks believes that this statement contradicts the inclusion of such content in the Navy's Digital Ambassador Program. Banks is calling for Austin to hold accountable the officials who authorized the use of sexually explicit content in the Navy's Digital Ambassador Program.
Several Republican lawmakers, such as Jim Banks, Ted Cruz from Texas, Tom Cotton from Arkansas, and Tommy Tuberville from Alabama, have expressed concerns regarding the military's endorsement of woke ideologies under President Biden and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. In another letter addressed to Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro, these GOP lawmakers have demanded transparency about the Digital Ambassador program and inquired whether the Navy sanctions sexually explicit performances.
According to the Daily Caller News Foundation, Banks stated that the Biden administration-appointed officials are promoting a hard-left agenda in the military, resulting in a significant decline in recruitment rates. He also mentioned that Republican lawmakers on the Armed Services Committee would continue to question Austin on the divisive and woke culture that is increasingly prevalent in the military.