FIRST ON FOX: A Florida Republican congressman and an Army special forces sergeant blasted the military’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate and woke policies, warning the U.S. is falling behind our adversaries like China.
Rep. Michael Waltz, R-Fla., and Sergeant Lonny Posey hopped on a video interview with Fox News Digital about the military vaccination mandate and other far-left policies, expressing their concern over their effects on the U.S.’s military readiness.
Waltz said he believes “the existential question and threat of our time is how do we keep up” with our adversaries like China and Russia, as well as “the very real threat of global terrorism that’s now on steroids with the Taliban caliphate overlaid with 31 trillion in debt.”
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“And the most dangerous by far of all of those is the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Their navy is now larger than ours,” Waltz said. “Their space force is launching more into space. They have achieved technology or technological superiority in areas like hypersonic missiles that we are playing catch up on.”
“They’re stealing their way to the top. They have a massive nuclear modernization,” Waltz continued, noting that Chinese President Xi Jinping was recently “re-elected for life” as the head of state.
Waltz also warned Xi wants to poise China as the dominant global superpower while the U.S. seems “to have a leadership in the Pentagon that’s more worried about pronouns, sexual orientation, vaccines and other types of things outside of warfighting.”
“And that is made for us to have a less ready military,” the Florida Republican said, adding he does not know if the American military’s dominance in fights is “the case anymore” and saying the military needs to “right the ship.”
Posey, a military veteran of 23 years and special operations veteran of 15 years, agreed with the congressman, saying “we’re not keeping up because” of the military’s focus on issues like “pronouns” and “climate change.”
“We’re worried about these vaccines and stuff and actually almost getting to a point of disabling and getting rid of able-body workers,” Posey said. “In the midst of all this stuff going on, we’re worried about things like climate change, while our other adversaries are progressing in warfighting functions and our focus is turned completely elsewhere.”
Posey called the Heritage Foundation’s recent “weak” rating of the U.S. military “deeply upsetting” but not a surprise. Waltz called the rating “very disturbing” and noting it “validates many things that I’m seeing on the Armed Forces Committee,” adding “our defense priorities are wrong.”
The special forces veteran told Fox News Digital that the vaccine mandate and other similar policies are “having a massive negative impact on morale” in the military and said 15 of the soldiers in his unit, including himself, are “worried about getting the possible dishonorable discharge” as well as “losing security clearances” they would use in their civilian jobs after leaving the military.
Posey also noted that in the past year, he’s had 25 potential recruits “ready to sign on the dotted line” walk away from military service due to the vaccine mandate “and other things they disagree with” that the administration is pushing.
When asked about the process to get religious or other exemptions from the vaccine mandate, Posey said he “can’t even tell you what the process completely is” and that he has “no idea” how many hurdles there are to get exemptions.
Waltz, a former Green Beret and active National Guard colonel, commended Posey for speaking out on the issue and called the exemption process a “sham process.”
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“I’ve heard of very few, if any, across all of the military services actually getting approved,” Waltz said. “In fact, I’ve heard from general officers across the National Guard that everyone that they have gotten an answer on has been disapproved.”
“And, meanwhile, the vast majority are just sitting in limbo like Sergeant Posey,” Waltz continued. “They can’t train, they’re not paid to go to the drill. If they’re in the National Guard or reservists, that means they can’t clock good years towards retirement.”
“So not only is this hurting them now and hurting our military now, it’s hurting their future,” the congressman added.
Posey noted that he has been testing his antibodies since first testing positive for COVID-19 in July of last year, noting he has “extremely high levels of antibodies” even in his latest test “a couple of days ago.”
The special forces sergeant also noted that anyone seeking a religious exemption to the vaccine policy “has to sit down with a chaplain to assess whether their beliefs are sincere enough to be granted approval.”
“Meanwhile, if one of my soldiers walked into my door tomorrow, a guy wearing a dress, and told me that he was a female, I would have to accept that without question or I’d be labeled a bigot or a transphobe,” Posey said.
“But now my soldiers, over a vaccine that’s been proven not to work, they have to jump through hoops just to prove their religious beliefs that they’ve held for years and years and years,” the sergeant continued.
“It’s brought into such scrutiny and question and it’s just completely asinine. And again, it’s so upsetting to watch because we sit here, we’re ready to work, we want to work, and we’re not being allowed to,” Posey added.
Posey said it’s “almost as if the powers that be are trying to dismantle some of the strongest parts of the military, that’s made us such a strong military over the years” when asked what he thinks is driving the military’s ideological freeze-out.
Both Waltz and Posey said they have concerns about the future recruiting classes of service members, with the Republican congressman asking when the deluge of mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters will “end.”
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Posey reiterated that he is already experiencing recruiting difficulties for his special forces team and noted that his team is only “a small reflection” of what’s going on writ-large in the Army and other service branches.
“I would definitely gamble that the rest of the army and all branches of service are going to be experiencing the same thing,” Posey said.
The Army did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.