Republicans and conservatives are usually first in line when it comes to supporting the U.S. military. But a large number are picking an unexpected fight with the U.S. Marines after an expeditionary force used its official Twitter account to attack Fox News host Tucker Carlson.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, a former presidential candidate, led the charge Sunday, demanding a meeting with the Marine commandant.
“Military officials over the last week have repeatedly launched attacks on Carlson, including through official DOD platforms and accounts and while in uniform,” Cruz wrote in a letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. “The campaign has alternated between being ostentatiously childish and simply outrageous.”
In a separate tweet, Cruz accused the military of parroting political talking points.
“Under Biden, the military is launching political attacks to intimidate Tucker Carlson & other civilians who criticize their policy decisions,” he tweeted. “Officials in uniform are being used for the campaign. I’ve demanded a meeting with the Commandant of the USMC to put a stop to it.”
Other major conservatives also chimed in.
“If this had happened under Trump, there would have already been a congressional hearing,” former Acting Director of National Intelligence Ric Grenell wrote.
Added Michele Perez Exner, who works for House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy: “As a female Marine that served in II MEF, this attack on a reporter’s free speech from an official account is completely unacceptable.”
The conservative counteroffensive came after a DOD spokesman and the official Twitter account of the II Marine Expeditionary Force slammed Carlson for a commentary last week about U.S. servicewomen. The Marine force on Sunday issued an apology.
“We can do better and we will collectively take a knee, review our procedures and get back in the fight,” the II Marine Expeditionary Force Information Group wrote on its official Twitter account. “Our focus is to train, fight and win and we have a hard time doing that without your support,” the Marines’ account added in another tweet.”
The Marine unit had tweeted a picture of a female troop carrying a male one, telling Carlson this is “what it looks like in today’s armed forces” and “get right before you get left, boomer.”
The word “boomer” is considered a pejorative term, and the post generated significant backlash.
“We are human and we messed up,” the unit tweeted over the weekend. “What was intended as a tweet in support of our female Marines and sisters serving in uniform was clearly not aligned with our standard practices or an appropriate representation of the Marine Corps. We will do better and serve the people.”