Retired Navy commander defends branch’s Drag Queen recruitment ads from ‘destructive’ GOP criticism

Ret. Naval Commander Julianna Vida claimed the Navy was 'Appealing to all people in a society

Retired U.S. Navy Commander Julianna Vida slammed one Republican Party lawmaker’s criticism of the Navy officially using a drag queen to boost recruitment for the military branch. 

In a statement provided to Fox News Digital this week, Vida said that Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s assessment that the Navy has become "preoccupied with identity politics" is "destructive" and "undermines" the Navy’s methods of recruiting new members.

Vida, who was in the Navy for over 30 years and currently servers on the Naval Academy Alumni Association Board of Trustees, defended the Navy’s use of drag queen recruiting ads as a "critical" method of welcoming "traditionally excluded segments of our population."

She noted the recruiting tactic should be "applauded."


Joshua Kelley Navy drag queen

Navy Yeoman 2nd Class Joshua Kelley, who goes by the stage name "Harpy Daniels," announced back in November 2022 that he was the Navy’s "Digital Ambassador." (Screenshot/ Harpy Daniels/ TikTok)

The retired commander’s comments came in response to Tuberville’s recent Wall Street Journal Op-ed, in which he blasted the U.S. Navy for having hired a "nonbinary officer" to be its drag queen "Digital Ambassador" to draw new recruits.

Tuberville argued the recruitment tactic highlighted the military’s "preoccupation with woke identity politics," which he claimed leaves the military vulnerable in terms of executing its mission. 

"My concern is that our new national obsession with sexuality, race and gender is focused on self rather than on purpose, ability or service. I spent 40 years recruiting young men to play football. What the Navy is doing isn't a good recruiting strategy," the lawmaker declared.

He also noted how America’s chief geopolitical enemies are expanding their own military power, while the U.S. is having its "Bud Light moment," as he characterized it.

Tuberville stated, "The Pentagon's most recent China Military Power report shows that China's army, navy and space assets are accelerating at a pace one American four-star admiral called 'breathtaking.' China already has the largest navy in the world and it's getting larger."

placeholderHowever, Vida told Fox that the senator’s criticism is a "trope" that really only plays well "to a socially conservative base." The former commander claimed that using specific tools to reach out to the LGBTQ community is merely the Navy "Appealing to all people in a society who are willing and able to volunteer their lives to the service of the nation."


Senator Tommy Tuberville

Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., claimed in a Wall Street Journal op-ed that the U.S. Navy was "preoccupied with identity politics." (Photo by Shawn Thew-Pool/Getty Images)

She added, "His criticism is destructive and undermines the Services' ability to address the known challenges of military recruiting. In my opinion his comments reflect a political or social agenda designed to instigate and undermine instead of inform or inspire confidence in our armed forces."

Vida, who spent eight years of her naval career working at the Pentagon, took issue with the popular critique that the military’s "excessive wokeness" is ruining the institution. 

First, the veteran said that talking point comes from "people with either little to no active duty military experience of their own, military experience from decades past when the world was quite different, and politicians or bureaucrats with agendas to pursue that likely do not align directly with the missions of the US military."

Second, she claimed, "the decline in recruiting or US military might… can be tied to the mismatch of budget and funding requests from senior military leaders with the domain expertise to justify them and the budget authorized and appropriated by Congress."

"But to blame [military problems] on any social construct such as ‘wokeness’ is in my opinion irresponsible and insulting to our brave and dedicated military servicemembers and their leaders," Vida added.  

US Navy San Diego

Aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) leaving San Diego Jan. 17, 2020. (U.S. Navy via Getty Images)

Fox News Digital also asked Vida to respond to several GOP lawmakers' letter to U.S. Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro, claiming the Drag Queen recruitment tool was "not appropriate for promotion in a professional workplace or the United States military." 

The retired commander disagreed with their assessment. 

She responded, "I'd like to hear those lawmakers define what they consider to be ‘professional.’ I feel the recognition by military decision makers that welcoming traditionally excluded segments of our population is critical to address t

1 comment:

  1. Why do we no longer prosecute treason? You could practically pick out anyone in government and make a case that would hold up in court. Why don't we do it?


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