Fact checker shreds Trump Jr.'s claim about 6 million military hours being spent promoting the 'woke' agenda
The Washington Post's Glenn Kessler highlighted remarks made by former President Donald Trump's son when he appeared at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Fla. At one point during his speech, he criticized the U.S. military.
“Our generals, the great woke leaders of our military that spent 6 million man-hours training our troops about wokeness — not fighting, not killing bad guys," Trump Jr., said on February 27. "They wanted to learn about White rage, a term none of us had heard of prior to him [Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff] testifying, right?”
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Kessler pushed back with the facts about the military's hours spent. He noted that Trump Jr.'s remarks would only make sense to conservatives who rely on information from far-right influential platforms like Fox News and Newsmax. He went on to explain why.
After tracking down the six million figure, Kessler acknowledged that it derives from a letter written by Milley that was addressed to Sen. James M. Inhofe (Okla.), who is a high-ranking Republican official serving on the Senate Armed Services Committee. At the time, Inhofe had requested to know how much time had been dedicated to three key items as under the U.S. Department of Justice requirements. Those items, according to Kessler, are "an extremism 'stand-down' related to the Jan. 6 attacks on the Capitol, a climate change plan and a new diversity, equity and inclusion training program."
Although Trump Jr. claimed the military had spent a substantial amount of its time on the woke agenda, Kessler pointed out that they actually placed an emphasis on mitigating extremism.
"The biggest chunk of time was devoted to the extremism stand-down — nearly 5.4 million hours," Kessler explained. "Since nearly 2.5 million members of the military participated, that means about two hours per person, which Milley noted is “comparable to other Joint Force periodic training requirements.” The climate change plan (1,059 hours) and diversity training (529,711 hours) brought the total up to 5.9 million hours. But you can see that more than 90 percent of the total related to the extremism course."
Kessler also highlighted Trump Jr.'s attempt to bend words.
"Notice the sneaky trick that Trump Jr. plays here," he wrote.
The vast majority of the “6 million man-hours” and the “White rage” comment concerned the attack on the Capitol by supporters of his father — an attack that the former president has defended and even seemed to celebrate. But his son does not make that clear. Instead, he claims that this is all about a “woke agenda” imposed by the Biden administration. To some extent that might be a matter of opinion, but it seems like a real stretch."
He concluded saying that although the 6 figure number is an actual estimate of real-time hours, "there is no evidence that this relatively minor course detracted from any military training — and Trump Jr. entirely mischaracterizes what the training was for."
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