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Joe Biden Must Stop Using Our Military to Push Political Agendas | #alaska | #politics


09.22.22

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) gave a speech on the Senate floor yesterday condemning President Biden for advancing policies that weaken America’s military and distract from the military’s core mission of lethality. As Senator Sullivan noted, the president has continually proposed cuts to the defense budget, while American soldiers are advised to use food stamps, and attempted to politicize America’s armed forces by ordering Marines to stand as props in a partisan speech in Philadelphia. Further, Sen. Sullivan criticized the president for breaking precedent and firing appointees to the nation’s military academy boards, and establishing an unnecessary committee in the Pentagon to search out extremism. Senator Sullivan delivered his remarks on the Senate floor Wednesday.

HIGHLIGHTS FROM HIS REMARKS: 

ON JOE BIDEN CALLING FOR A 5% REAL CUT TO THE MILITARY:

 

“We’ve had a war in Ukraine. We’ve had the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and Secretary of Defense testify in front of the Armed Services Committee that we’re probably seeing the most dangerous time globally in any time in the last 40 years.

 

“So what about the Biden budget this year? Mr. President, he did it again. This is actually [the] EPA, a 25% increase. . . You get down to the Department of Defense with now the nine percent Bidenflation. We’re talking a five percent real cut to our military. So that is not prioritizing our military.”

ON THE ARMY ADVISING SOLDIERS TO GO ON FOOD STAMPS AMID RECORD BIDENFLATION:


“And Mr. President, you’re starting to see how this inflation and other things are really impacting our troops. The Army last week in an article suggested that the American military members who are having trouble meeting ends meet because of high levels of inflation should go on food stamps.

 

“Yeah you heard that correct: We’re gonna give the EPA a 25% raise. We’re gonna cut defense spending by a five percent real cut, and if you’re a soldier struggling because of high inflation to actually put food on the table, you can go get food stamps. That’s the perfect example of not prioritizing our military. . . But the President finds it absolutely essential to forgive $560 billion dollars in student loan debt just a couple of weeks ago? Who are the preponderance of Americans that will benefit from that lawless bailout? High-earning Americans, the elite White House staffers certainly. They’re going to get a half-a-trillion dollar bailout and our troops are being told to go on food stamps. This should shock every single American.”

 

ON JOE BIDEN USING THE MILITARY AS POLITICAL PROPS:


I don’t think it’s wise for every president to give the kind of partisan speech that President Biden gave on September 1 in Philadelphia, in which he vilified millions, tens of millions of his fellow Americans who don’t agree with his administration’s policies. Some of you may have seen that speech. The President told the country that many of his fellow Americans, all of whom are Republican, don’t ‘respect the Constitution’ ‘are destroying American democracy. . .

“He did all this, a clearly partisan speech, while being flanked by two active duty Marines as his political props. 

“Look at that. In my view, a sickening abuse of authority from a commander in chief who’s never served in the military. I think he got five Vietnam deferments and knows nothing about the Marine Corps’ ethos of honor, courage, commitment. . .

The presence of these Marines was meant to politicize the president’s speech and politically benefit from the honor and respect the few and the proud have earned in the hearts of Americans over decades, over millennium. This should disturb every single American, whether you’re a Democrat or Republican. This was just wrong.”

ON JOE BIDEN BREAKING PRECEDENT AND FIRING BOARD MEMBERS OF MILITARY ACADEMIES:

 

“When President Biden came into office, he looked at West Point, Annapolis, the Air Force Academy, and somebody said to him, you know what Mr. President, let’s fire all the Trump appointees, let’s fire them right now, all 18 of them, to clearly politicize the service academies of America. So that’s what they did. Something that had never been done before by any president in the history of the country and they did it regardless of the qualifications of the current members serving on these boards.

“Let me give you some examples: Retired Army Lieutenant General H. R. McMaster was fired off the West Point board. Ironically,the same day he was fired by President Biden’s White House, he was honored by the West Point Association of graduates as the distinguished graduate of the year of West Point. So one president fires him and West Point gives them a great honor. General Jack Keane, a former Vice Chief of Staff of the Army fired from the West Point Board. Retired Army Colonel Douglas MacGregor an Afghanistan war veteran, clinical psychologist Meaghan Mobbs, a Bronze Star recipient, businessman David Urban, and a retired Army Lieutenant General, Guy Swan.

“18 qualified people, all fired. The politicization of the service academies of America was undertaken by this administration. First president, first White House ever to do it – all fired by Joe Biden and not allowed to fill their terms.”

 

FULL REMARKS:

Mr. President, there’s been much made in the Biden administration about the value of diversity, and I agree that having diversity in any organization, it’s positive. You get different viewpoints, but diversity encompasses much more than race or gender or religious orientation. Those are all important. Diversity actually means having people around you with varied experiences. And as I mentioned, in my mind that’s certainly important, but it’s particularly important in the Oval Office. It’s particularly important in the White House. It’s particularly important in the leadership of our federal government. Let’s take the example of military experience in this administration. You think that the Biden administration would think it’s important to have members in his cabinet or senior White House officials who have served in the military. After all, he’s the Commander-in-Chief, very important part of his responsibilities, but in fact, Mr. President, virtually no one in this administration, with the exception of Secretary Austin at the highest levels, cabinet officials, senior White House officials have any significant military experience at all. Why does this matter? The President doesn’t have it of course, the secretary of the V.A., chief of staff, national security adviser – just go down the list. 

Nobody has any experience. In the federal government of the United States. Why does this matter? It matters, Mr. President because it’s obvious by the people this President surrounds himself, the people who are giving him advice on big decisions for America that this president doesn’t prioritize military, our national defense, and our troops and their families. And this manifests itself in many, many ways.

First, most importantly, it matters in how we fund our national defense. Now, I was on the floor last week, speaking about this very topic. This is President Biden’s first budget. If you can see this here, that he proposed, it has the increases to every federal agency. This is a multi-trillion dollar budget and it says this is what we’re prioritizing in the Biden administration. And you see heck, double-digit, that’s education, commerce, E.P.A over 20%, interior over 15%, on and on and on, all the green. Just a massive expansion of federal agencies, except two agencies: Department of Defense and Homeland Security. The two agencies that actually protect Americans.

If you look for this line of inflation, which when the Biden administration put out their budget last year was about 4.5%. These are actual inflation-adjusted real cuts by about two to three percent to our military. That was the Biden budget, not prioritizing our troops, our national security at all. My view is that’s the number one job of this government. Not the President’s view, not his team’s view.

Okay, so in the interim, that was last year’s budget. We’ve had a war in Ukraine. We’ve had the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and Secretary Defense testify in front of the Armed Services Committee that we’re probably seeing the most dangerous time globally in any time in the last 40 years.

So what about the Biden budget this year? Mr. President, he did it again. This is actually EPA, a 25% increase, wow okay, but here we go, all the big double-digit increases. You get down to the Department of Defense with now the nine percent Bidenflation. We’re talking a five percent real cut to our military. So that is not prioritizing our military. 

And Mr. President, you’re starting to see how this inflation and other things are really impacting our troops. The Army last week in an article suggested that the American military members who are having trouble meeting ends meet because of high levels of inflation should go on food stamps.

Yeah you heard that correct: We’re gonna give the EPA a 25% raise. We’re gonna cut defense spending by a five percent real cut, and if you’re a soldier struggling because of high inflation to actually put food on the table, you can go get food stamps. That’s the perfect example of not prioritizing our military and I want to unpack this further, Mr. President. 

The Army is saying that our troops don’t have enough food to eat – they should look at going on food stamps. But the President finds it absolutely essential to forgive $560 billion dollars in student loan debt just a couple of weeks ago.

Who are the preponderance of Americans that will benefit from that lawless bailout? High-earning Americans, the elite White House staffers certainly. They’re going to get a half a trillion dollar bailout and our troops are being told to go on food stamps. This should shock every single American. 

So we know the President and his team don’t prioritize the military. Look at these budgets for our troops or our national security, but that doesn’t mean they don’t find the military useful. 

Now. Mr. President, I’m gonna put up a picture of a recent speech that I will tell you, every time I look at it, my blood boils and so should every American’s blood boil. 

It’s this picture. Now, Mr. President, every president gives partisan speeches. Now, I don’t think it’s wise for every president to give the kind of partisan speech that President Biden gave on September 1 in Philadelphia, in which he vilified millions, tens of millions of his fellow Americans who don’t agree with his administration’s policies. Some of you may have seen that speech. The President told the country that many of his fellow Americans, all of whom are Republican, don’t “respect the Constitution” “are destroying American democracy.”

He gave this speech against a blood-red backdrop fists clenched. Look at him, yelling that millions of his fellow Americans embrace anger while he embraced anger in his speech and chaos. This President who continually issues lawless executive orders like shutting down ANWR in my state, his half a trillion dollar student loan bailout, then says that Republicans are quote against the rule of law. He went on and on, the insults, very partisan, somewhat deranged, attacking tens of millions of his fellow Americans.

Now look, Presidents do that. I don’t think it’s a good idea. But here’s the thing about this speech, Mr. President. To make matters worse. Look at this. He did all this, a clearly partisan speech, while being flanked by two active duty Marines as his political props. 

Look at that. In my view, a sickening abuse of authority from a commander in chief who’s never served in the military. I think he got five Vietnam deferments and knows nothing about the Marine Corps’ ethos of honor, courage, commitment.

Remember, when General Milley, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and was Chairman under President Trump as well, released a video where he apologized for standing beside the President, then President Trump, when that could have been perceived as political. This is what General Milley said: “I should have not been there. My presence in that moment and in that environment created a perception of the military being involved in domestic politics.”

I thought that was a good speech by General Milley. He made a mistake. He apologized and that was the right thing to do. Mr. President. This is much worse. This is much worse, these Marines, unlike General Milley, they’re being ordered to stand next to the President of the United States while he rants against millions of his own fellow Americans and the President certainly didn’t apologize for this speech.

In fact, when criticized by both Democrats and Republicans for the politicization of the military with these Marines propped up next to him, the Biden administration actually doubled down in terms of their use of these two active duty Marines as political props in a very partisan speech. Here’s what the spokesperson at the White House said, “the presence of the Marines at that speech was intended to demonstrate the deep abiding respect the President has for these service members to the ideals in the unique role of our independent military plays in defending our democracy no matter who is in power.”

This is Orwellian doublespeak. What a bunch of nonsense. Here’s the fact, Mr. President. The presence of these Marines was meant to politicize the President’s speech and politically benefit from the honor and respect the few and the proud have earned in the hearts of Americans over decades, over millennium. This should disturb every single American, whether you’re a Democrat or Republican. This was just wrong. 

Let me provide another example of the politicization of our military by the Biden administration. Now, this is something hasn’t gotten a lot of attention, some people like hey, it wasn’t really a big deal. I actually think it was a big deal.

We have some of the best service academies in the world. They are the best in the world, the U.S. Naval Academy, West Point, Air Force Academy, Coast Guard Academy. Each of our military services’ academies has board members, some of whom are appointed by the President of the United States for three-year terms. Now I am honored to serve on the U. S. Naval Academy Board. I was appointed as a member of the Armed Services Committee.

Here’s the tradition in our country that every single president has abided by when they come into office: They let the board members finish out their terms. So for example, when President Trump was elected, the Obama administration officials who are President Obama’s appointees, finished out their terms on the Naval Academy board, The West Point Board, the Air Force Academy Board. That’s what we do. The point is not to politicize the service academies. That has always been the tradition. Every single president except for Joe Biden.

When President Biden came into office, he looked at West Point, Annapolis, the Air Force Academy, and somebody said to him, you know what Mr. President, let’s fire all the Trump appointees, let’s fire them right now, all 18 of them, to clearly politicize the service academies of America. So that’s what they did. Something that had never been done before by any president in the history of the country and they did it regardless of the qualifications of the current members serving on these boards.

Let me give you some examples. Retired Army Lieutenant General H. R. McMaster was fired off the West Point board ironically the same day he was fired by President Biden’s White House, he was honored by the West Point Association of graduates as the distinguished graduate of the year of West Point. So one president fires him and West Point gives them a great honor. General Jack Keane, a former Vice Chief of staff of the Army fired from the West Point Board. Retired Army Colonel Douglas MacGregor an Afghanistan war veteran, clinical psychologist Meaghan Mobbs, a Bronze Star recipient, and businessman David Urban, a retired Army Lieutenant General, Guy Swan.

18 qualified people, all fired. The politicization of the service academies of America was undertaken by this administration. First president, first White House ever to do it – all fired by Joe Biden and not allowed to fill their terms.

And of course, Mr. President, the Biden administration loves to use our military to push other agendas that have nothing to do with lethality in winning our nation’s wars. Many, many examples. Let me give you just a couple from the beginning, issuing executive orders, not focused on how we have a stronger military but using taxpayer dollars to establish a committee within the Pentagon to do what ended up being witch hunts on so-called extremists in the military, of which, when they came back with their report, they said they had actions of .005%. 

They also issued executive orders to use taxpayer dollars to mandate transgender transition surgeries for active duty soldiers. Importantly, they become non deployable when that happens. 

So, Mr. President, back to my original point. No one in senior positions in the White House or the cabinet with the exception of Secretary Austin has significant military experience. And on so many of these issues there’s no adult in the room. 

Think about these White House conversations where they’re talking about, hey, let’s cut the Defense budget and will grow the E.P.A. by 25%. That’s a great idea, Mr. President. Let’s make sure we give a partisan speech at Independence Hall and oh yeah, let’s grab a couple of active duty Marines and stand right next to the President as his props. That’s a great idea, Mr. President. Let’s come in and politicize the service academies and fire all the Trump administration appointees, even American heroes like H. R. McMaster, General Keane, despite the fact that no president had ever done that before. Great idea, Mr. President. 

This is really problematic what we’re seeing right now in that lack of prioritization extends here in the U.S. Senate. Unfortunately, as it relates to our military, as we know with regard to Defense budget cuts.

In the 2020 NDAA, we had a debate right here on the Senate floor, where my colleague, the junior senator from Vermont proposed an amendment to dramatically cut our military – almost by 15% across the board cuts. He even actually wrote an op-ed in Politico, remember this is when the Democrats were pushing defund the police.

Here’s the op-ed. It actually is called “Defund the Pentagon: the Liberal Case.” I’d like to submit this for the record. The junior Senator from Vermont wrote that. The Majority Leader put out a tweet saying he was a proud supporter of the defund the Pentagon amendment. That’s right here on the Senate floor.

And of course, Mr. President, there’s the National Defense Authorization Act, The number one bill that focuses on national defense for our nation, that passed out of committee, the Armed Services Committee in June, in a very strong bipartisan vote, 23-3, passed the House in July, will have pay raises for our troops so the Army doesn’t have to tell them to go line up for food stamps because they’re hungry and we need to bring it to the floor right here.

So what are we doing? As far as I can tell, the Majority Leader doesn’t want to bring up the Defense Authorization Act until December. That’s why I joined a letter led by Senator Tuberville who I serve on the Armed Services Committee with, signed by twenty of my colleagues to say to the majority leader, Mr. Majority Leader, we have a dangerous world right now. Bring the NDAA to the floor. It’s gonna pass. It’s got great support. By the way, Mr. President. I know that Democrat senators feel this way too on this topic.

So we need to get this body back to what’s important for our country, bolstering our economy, fighting inflation, bringing down energy costs, unleashing American energy, and definitely passing the legislation that funds our military that provides pay raises for our troops during this very dangerous time. 

So I ask the Majority Leader to bring the NDAA to the floor. We need it, and I call on the President and his administration, the President of the United States, the Commander-in-Chief, to truly prioritize our military and their families. And that begins with putting an end to using them in a disgraceful way as political props for your partisan agenda. I yield the floor.

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