Representative Paul Gosar is livid that fewer white people are joining the military, a shift he blames on “‘woke’ ideologies.”
The far-right Arizona congressman sent out a fundraising email Thursday night with the subject line “dismantling woke marxist ideologies.”
“The number of white recruits has plummeted,” Gosar wrote in the email, first reported on by Vice News. “[It’s] a casualty of this cultural skirmish that has left our Army beleaguered and besieged by ‘woke’ ideologies.”
“This is not merely a crisis of numbers,” he said. “It is a crisis of spirit.”
Gosar was reacting to a study released last week by Military.com that found the number of white recruits in the U.S. army has dropped significantly in the past five years. In 2018, white people made up 56.4 percent of new recruits. But they made up just 44 percent in 2023.
The number of Black and Hispanic recruits has stayed about the same, but they make up a larger percentage of the recruiting pool because the lower number of white recruits has decreased the overall recruiting total.
Military.com was unable to pinpoint a single reason for the drop in white recruits but said factors could include increased scrutiny of military service, an underfunded public education system, and issues in public health. Others have suggested that another reason could be the fact that young white Americans make up about three-quarters of the tens of thousands of annual fatal opioid overdoses.
The military has also upped efforts to increase diversity, particularly LGBTQ people, as well as to root out extremism from its ranks. But Gosar and other right-wingers complaining about the drop in white recruits in the army shouldn’t worry too much: The vast majority of the military is still white.
Nonetheless, Gosar claimed the lower white recruitment numbers are more proof that conservatives are fighting a “pivotal battle for the soul of our nation”—a phrase that stings of white nationalism (to which Gosar has ties) and echoes Donald Trump’s recent claim that immigrants are “destroying the blood of our country.” Gosar is a staunch Trump supporter.
Many Republicans have increasingly accused the military of going “woke” and have tried to pass legislation limiting expressions of pride in diversity. In November, Senator Tommy Tuberville said the military was the “weakest” it’s ever been because of “wokeness.”
Ironically, at the time, Tuberville was carrying out a one-man blockade on military promotions to protest the Department of Defense’s policy of reimbursing costs for service members who had to travel for an abortion. Despite repeated warnings from military leadership that he was hurting military readiness, Tuberville persisted with his stunt for a total of nine months.