Pictured – Left: Rep. Jim Banks (R-Indiana); Right: Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Michael Gilday
During a Tuesday House hearing, Rep. Jim Banks (IN) conducted a scathing interrogation of Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Michael Gilday over critical race theory in the military.
The lawmaker peppered Gilday over his suggestion that “every sailor” should read “How to Be an Anti-Racist” by activist Ibram X. Kendi.
The representative noted that the Navy, along with the rest of the Armed Forces, observed a one-day stand-down to identify ways to deal with extremist ideologies within its ranks. Banks noted that Gilday indicated that “we will not tolerate extremist ideologies that go against our oath to the Constitution.”
Banks then laid out why he believes that Kendi has expressed extremist views in the past. “In my view, Kendi has espoused extremist beliefs that clearly violate the oath to the Constitution that I took when I served in the Navy. Ibram Kendi, by the way, labeled Amy Coney Barrett a ‘white colonizer’ and criticized her for ‘cutting the biological parents of these children out’ because she adopted two children from Haiti,” the lawmaker pointed out.
He then asked: “Yes or no, Admiral: Do you personally consider opposition to interracial adoption an extremist belief?”
Gilday responded: “Sir, when I said correct the record … you paraphrased me. I said I do not support everything Kendi said in his book.”
Banks repeated his question, but his microphone malfunctioned so Gilday’s answer could not be heard.
The lawmaker noted that Kendi argues in his book that capitalism is inherently racist and that the activist’s objective is to erase racism. “So yes or no: Do you personally consider advocating for the destruction of American capitalism to be extremist?” Banks asked.
Gilday began to reply: “Here’s what I know, Congressman. There’s racism in the United States Navy. I have an obligation –“
Banks interjected: “It’s a yes or no question, Admiral. Admiral, you recommended that every sailor in the United States Navy read this book. It’s a yes or no question.”
Gilday replied: “I’m not forcing anybody to read the book. It’s on a recommended reading list.”
The representative pointed out that while Kendi was in college, he wrote that white people are a different breed of humans and that they created the AIDS virus. He asked if Gilday believed this constituted an extremist belief.
The admiral responded by saying he would “have to understand the context in which the statements were made.” He continued …
“I’m not going to sit here and defend cherry-picked quotes from somebody’s book. I’m not going to do that. This is a bigger issue than somebody’s book. What this is really about is trying to paint the United States military, and in this case, the United States Navy is weak, as woke, and we’ve had sailors that spent 341 days at sea last year with minimal port visits, the longest deployments we’ve had since the Second World War; we are not weak, we are strong …”
Banks acknowledged that the Defense Department conducted the stand-down “because they understand that extremism detracts from military readiness.” He continued, asking if Gilday would expect morale to increase or decrease if sailors embraced Kendi’s teachings about America being fundamentally racist.