An American TV host has come under fire after calling efforts to support female soldiers “a mockery of the US military”.
Tucker Carlson, a Fox News presenter, made the disparaging remarks after US president Joe Biden talked about making it easier and safer for women to join and stay in the military.
Mr Biden, speaking on International Women’s Day, mentioned recent updates to military hair regulations and maternity flight suits intended to be worn during day-to-day duties.
But Mr Carlson took aim at these decisions.
What did Tucker Carlson say about women in the army?
Following Mr Biden’s comments on IWD 2021, Mr Carlson turned his attention to the US military.
The presenter, who is widely known for his right wing political views, called efforts to support female soldiers “a mockery of the US military”.
On air, he said: “So we’ve got new hairstyles and maternity flight suits. Pregnant women are going to fight our wars. It’s a mockery of the US military.
“While China’s military becomes more masculine, as it has assembled the world’s largest navy, our military needs to become what Mr Biden says more feminine.
“Whatever feminine means anymore since men and women no longer exist. The bottom line is, it’s out of control and the Pentagon is going along with this.
“This is a mockery of the US military and its core mission which is winning wars.”
What has been the response to Tucker Carlson’s comments?
His comments have sparked outrage among the US military and veteran groups who were quick to point out that Mr Carlson had never served.
New Jersey representative Mikie Sherrill, a former US navy pilot, criticised Mr Carlson’s comments on Twitter.
She posted: I signed up to serve my country at 18. Tucker Carlson did not. I served with women who risked their lives to protect our country. Tucker did not.
“While he denigrates those who serve, our military remains the best fighting force due, in large part, to our amazing servicewomen.”
Leader of the US Space Command, Scott Stalker, posted a video on Twitter in which he also took exception with Mr Carlson’s comments, claiming it was “drama TV”.
Mr Stalker added: “Those decisions were made by medical professionals, by commanders and our civilian leadership, that allows for women to have more time with their children to recuperate, to get fit and ready.”
Mr Carlson’s comments did not escape the attention of the Pentagon, either, as spokesperson John Kirby, who said: “We won't take personnel advice from a talk show host.”
“Maybe those folks feel like they have something to prove, that's on them,” said Mr Kirby. “We know we’re the greatest military in the world today, and even for all the things we need to improve.”
And added the US military is “better and more effective” when it is representative of all Americans.
Who is Tucker Carlson?
The 51-year-old California native is an advocate of former US president Donald Trump and has never been shy to voice his opinion.
Widely known for his outspoken right wing conservative views, Mr Carlson has had his own nightly political talk show on Fox News since 2016.
A former print journalist in the 1990s, he became a CNN commentator from 2000 to 2005 and co-host of the network’s news debate programme Crossfire.
He was given his own show on MSNBC, titled Tucker, from 2005 to 2008 before making the switch to Fox News where he has worked his way up from guest spots in 2009.
A published author, he has written two books - the first a memoir titled ‘Politicians, Partisans, and Parasites’ and secondly a political book titled ‘Ship of Fools’.
Away from the screen, he has four children with his wife of 30 years Susan Carlson (nee Andrews).
What has Tucker Carlson said about Piers Morgan?
Mr Carlson recently offered support to “our friend” Piers Morgan after the former Good Morning Britain host’s comments about Meghan Markle.
Mr Morgan maintained his opinion that he didn’t believe “a word she said” during the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s shocking interview with Oprah Winfrey.
Mr Carlson told his US TV audience: “He left his job on the British morning show after failing to be sufficiently impressed by that whiny duchess from LA complaining about how hard her life is.
“Now Piers Morgan knew what the script was supposed to be - 'oh, you poor oppressed duchess' - but he refused to read it, so now he's unemployed.”