Republican lawmakers are calling for an end to politicizing the military after the National Guard accompanied a Democratic lawmaker from Guam to Rep. Majorie Taylor Greene’s congressional office, in response to the Georgia Republican referring to the US territory as a foreign country.
Taylor Greene sent a letter on Tuesday to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and National Guard Chief Gen. Daniel Hokanson, warning of a “dangerous and troubling trend in which members of our armed forces are being used to intimidate civilians, harass members of Congress and their staff, and attack conservative journalists for expressing their views.”
She said members of the military swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution.
“They did not sign up to play party politics and act as extras in an ongoing culture war,” she wrote in her missive.
“Imagine if I, or any of my Republican colleagues from Georgia, marched with members of the Georgia National Guard over to a Democrat Member of Congress’ office to ambush and record their staff,” Taylor Greene continued.
Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the Republican leader in the House, also expressed outrage at the “political stunt.”
“@DeptofDefense is being politicized. Uniformed service members recently criticized a private citizen for his First Amendment rights, & today a Dem lawmaker used soldiers in a political stunt against a GOP member,” he said in a Twitter post Monday.
”@SecDef Austin—This sets a dangerous precedent. It must stop now,” McCarthy said.
The responses were prompted by a visit to Greene’s office by Michael San Nicolas, a non-voting representative from Guam in Congress.
He showed up at her office Monday with members of the Guam National Guard, as well as cookies and a guidebook, and videotaped the episode.
But the congresswoman wasn’t in the office and San Nicolas was told by an aide that she would be “back in about 15 minutes.”
San Nicolas said they would “circle back” because they were making deliveries to other members of Congress.
At the end of his video, San Nicolas posted a note that said: “While we have not heard back from Congresswoman Taylor Greene’s office, we look forward to it, & have her cookies waiting in the meantime.”
Speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference last month in Orlando, Fla., Taylor Greene railed about foreign aid being sent overseas.
“I’m a regular person. And I wanted to take my regular-person, normal, everyday American values, which is, we love our country. We believe our hard-earned tax dollars should just go for America, not for what? China, Russia, the Middle East, Guam, whatever, wherever,” she said.
But San Nicolas said criticism from McCarthy, Taylor Greene and other Republicans about his visit is “unfounded.”
“We were not at all using military service members for political props. I was taking my guardsmen on a tour of the Capitol, and we stopped at several members’ office, and we delivered some goodies,” he said on CNN. “Cookies should never be considered a political prop, but neither should our military. But goodwill is absolutely something that we wish to extend from Guam to everybody, and my guardsmen wish to extend the same, and we’re very honored to be able to facilitate that.”
Maj. Gen. Esther J.C. Aguigui, adjutant general of the Guam National Guard, said the force remains a “non-partisan entity” in a statement on Tuesday.
“We appreciate Congressman San Nicolas’ efforts to represent our culture of Inafa’ Maolek, or bringing harmony, practiced here in Guam,” she said. “We also thank Congresswoman Greene for ultimately helping raise awareness of Guamanians as citizens of the United States, and our rich tradition of service and sacrifice to our nation.”
Last weekend, the II Marine Expeditionary Force had to walk back a snarky tweet calling Tucker Carlson a “boomer” over the Fox News host’s comments about pregnant women serving in the military.
In a since-deleted tweet from the verified account of their Information Group, the II MEF laid into Carlson over a segment from his show last week in which he said efforts by the US military to accommodate service members who are expectant mothers made “a mockery” of what the armed forces stand for.
“What it looks like in today’s armed forces @TuckerCarlson,” the tweet read. “Get right before you get left, boomer.”
But after the tweet came under scrutiny, II MEF deleted it and, in a Saturday reply to one critic, vowed to be more judicious about using its social media platform in the future.