U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz is continuing his anti-LGBTQ+ ways, attacking an Army recruiting video that showcases a service member raised by two mothers and saying Democrats are trying to turn the military into “pansies.”
The video is part of a series titled “The Calling,” which features a diverse group of soldiers, several who are people of color or from immigrant families, and one who overcame learning issues. The entry that really roused Cruz’s ire tells the story of Cpl. Emma Malonelord, a white woman brought up by two moms in California.
It portrays her marching for LGBTQ+ rights, attending her mothers’ wedding, and talking about her admiration for strong, adventurous women, which fueled her decision to join the Army. The videos are largely animated but show the real-life soldiers as well.
Cruz, a Republican from Texas and a onetime presidential aspirant, Thursday retweeted a TikTok video that contained clips of Malonelord’s video along with portions of a Russian military recruiting ad showing male soldiers with shaved heads doing push-ups. He commented, “Perhaps a woke, emasculated military wasn’t the best idea.” Cruz has often objected to women being in combat.
After that tweet received much negative reaction, he tweeted that he wasn’t attacking the military. “We have the greatest military on earth, but Dem politicians & woke media are trying to turn them into pansies,” he wrote. While seldom used today, “pansy” was once widely utilized as a slur for gay men.
Cruz’s comments have received extensive pushback, including from Democratic U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, a decorated military veteran. Some of those criticizing Cruz have brought up his fealty to Donald Trump, even after Trump insulted Cruz’s wife and suggested that the senator’s father, Rafael Cruz, may have been involved in President John F. Kennedy’s assassination, and others have mentioned his trip to Cancun, Mexico, while Texas was going through a devastating cold wave. The hashtag #emasculaTED has been trending on Twitter.