Ted Cruz implies the US military is too ‘woke’ and ’emasculated’ to compete with Russia

Ted Cruz
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2021, on the fifth day of the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump.

  • Texas Sen. Ted Cruz retweeted a TikTok comparing a Russian Army commercial with a US Army commercial.
  • While the Russian ad was rife with masculine tropes, the US ad was the animated story of a service member with two moms.
  • Cruz said that in comparing the two military ads, “perhaps a woke and emasculated military is not the best idea.”
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Texas Sen. Ted Cruz called the US military “woke” and “emasculated” compared to Russia’s military in a tweet on Thursday.

Cruz based his criticism on a TikTok video comparing a Russian recruitment ad with a US Army commercial spot. While Russia’s ad featured moody lighting and buff, shirtless men writing in the dirt, the US Army clip offered an animated telling of the life of US Army Corporal Emma Malonelord, who was raised by a lesbian couple in San Francisco.

Insider reached out to Cruz’s office for additional comment on the tweet.

“After graduating high school at the top of my class, and after meeting with an Army recruiter, I found it: A way to prove my inner strength,” Mannelord says in the clip.

Malonelord is one of five military members featured in the Army’s newest commercial series featuring a diverse array of recruits. The series, dubbed “The Calling,” aims at sharing “a rich tapestry of stories that represent the diverse upbringings and life experiences that make up today’s Army,” according to a US Army press release.

Read more: Trump DOJ secretly obtained CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr’s phone and email records

Cruz never served in the military. During a 2015 interview with CNBC’s John Harwood, he said that he had “considered it many times” but had never enlisted. “I will say it’s something I always regretted. I wished I had spent time in the service. It’s something I respect immensely.”

Nevertheless, he’s spoken out on his opinions on women joining the service in the past. In 2o16, while running for reelection, he said he thought women serving in combat roles in the military was “nuts” and that it was simply “political correctness run amok.”

Insider has reached out to the US Army for comment.

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National Guard member’s arrest marks fourth service member charged in Capitol riot

capitol riot military
In this Jan. 6, 2021 file photo rioters supporting President Donald Trump storm the Capitol in Washington.

  • A member of the Wisconsin National Guard was arrested Monday over his role in the Capitol attack.
  • Abram Markofski is the fourth service member to face federal charges over the January 6 insurrection.
  • A federal judge released Markofski Monday pending a virtual May 10 hearing.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Authorities arrested a member of the Wisconsin National Guard on Monday in connection to his participation in the January 6 Capitol insurrection, marking the fourth service member to be charged in the deadly pro-Trump riot.

Abram Markofski, a private first-class, and his friend, Brandon Nelson, were arrested in Wisconsin on Monday and charged with four counts, including entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds and violent entry or disorderly conduct, according to the Justice Department.

Markofski joined the National Guard in 2019, according to The Associated Press, and serves in the 1st Battalion, 128th Infantry.

He joins three other service members – two Army Reserve soldiers and a Virginia National Guard soldier – who also face federal charges over their role in the Capitol attack.

At least 41 military veterans have also been charged in the riot, according to the Washington Post. The initial overrepresentation of active and former service members among those charged in the Capitol riot has prompted a national conversation about extremism in the military, prompting Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to order a “stand-down” in February to discuss extremism within the organization’s ranks.

Markofski and Nelson both admitted to entering the Capitol on January 6, after the duo drove to Washington, DC, from Madison, Wisconsin, the day before in order to see then-President Donald Trump speak, according to a probable-cause affidavit.

Screen Shot 2021 05 04 at 1.29.56 PM
Abram Markofski inside the US Capitol on January 6.

Investigators found photographic evidence of both men inside the building during the riot, court documents said. Markofski’s cellphone GPS data also appeared to place him in areas that are “at least partially within the US Capitol Building” during the riot.

Screen Shot 2021 05 04 at 1.29.43 PM
Brandon Nelson inside the US Capitol on January 6.

Markofski and Nelson appeared in a Madison court on Monday, where a judge released them ahead of a May 10 virtual hearing, according to The AP. The men have also been barred from entering DC.

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Biden plans to pull all US troops out of Afghanistan by the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks

US Army Afghanistan
A US soldier keeps watch from behind cover in a rural area in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province, January 6, 2015.

  • President Joe Biden plans to pull all US troops out of Afghanistan by September 11.
  • The withdrawal deadline marks the 20th anniversary of the terror attacks that pulled America into the war.
  • “We’re going to zero troops by September,” a source told The Washington Post.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The Biden administration plans to withdraw all American forces in Afghanistan by September 11, the 20th anniversary of the deadly terrorist attacks that dragged the US into a decades-long conflict, The Washington Post first reported Tuesday.

Though official estimates are lower, there are somewhere around 3,500 troops currently serving in Afghanistan, according to The New York Times.

“We will begin an orderly drawdown of the remaining forces before May 1 and plan to have all US troops out of the country before the 20th anniversary of 9/11,” a senior administration official said Tuesday, confirming The Post’s reporting.

Under the deal negotiated by the Trump administration with the Taliban, the US was expected to have all US forces out of the country by May 1.

“We have … long known that there is no military solution to the problems plaguing Afghanistan, and we will focus our efforts on supporting the ongoing peace process,” the official said Tuesday.

“That means putting the full weight of our government behind diplomatic efforts to reach a peace agreement between the Taliban and the Afghan government, but what we will not do is use our troops as bargaining chips in that process,” the official added.

In March, Biden said that “it’s going to be hard to meet the May 1 deadline,” explaining that for tactical reasons, “it’s hard to get those troops out.” He stressed, though, that “it is not my intention to stay there for a long time.”

The next day, the Taliban said that “if God forbid, all foreign troops [do] not withdraw from Afghanistan on the specified date,” then the insurgent force “will be compelled to defend its religion and homeland and continue its Jihad and armed struggle against foreign forces to liberate its country.”

It’s unclear if the Taliban will follow through on that threat with the new September deadline, but the administration is hopeful the new plan will prevent renewed fighting.

“If we break the May 1st deadline negotiated by the previous administration with no clear plan to exit, we will be back at war with the Taliban, and that was not something President Biden believed was in the national interest,” a person familiar with the planning told The Post. “We’re going to zero troops by September.”

The senior administration official said Tuesday that the US has “told the Taliban in no uncertain terms that any attacks on US troops as we undergo a safe and orderly withdrawal will be met with a forceful response.”

The original agreement for a full withdrawal by May 1 was conditions-based, requiring all sides to “demonstrate their commitment to advancing the peace process.”

US military leaders have repeatedly said that the Taliban has not lived up to these commitments. Biden’s plan to withdraw, however, “is not conditions-based,” the official said Tuesday.

“The president has judged that conditions-based approach, which has been the approach of the past two decades, is a recipe for staying in Afghanistan forever,” the official added.

The official said the September 11 deadline was set largely due to “operational and logistical issues related to ensuring that we have a safe and orderly withdrawal” and that it may be “completed well in advance” of that date.

The US will also coordinate with NATO allies and partners about the drawdown of their forces over the same time period, the official added.

The war in Afghanistan, which began on October 7, 2001, has been America’s longest-running conflict. The US has been steadily pulling troops out of the country amid negotiations with the Taliban.

The plan to pull troops out by September comes as the US shifts its focus to what are considered to be higher-level threats, such as rivals like China and Russia.

“Afghanistan just does not rise to the level of those other threats at this point,” The Post’s source said, adding that the US would “remain committed diplomatically” in Afghanistan.

Biden has determined “that the best path forward to advance American interests is to end the war in Afghanistan after 20 years so that we can address the global threat picture as it exists today, not as it was two decades ago,” the official said Tuesday.

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Boston Dynamics’ Spot robot was thrown into an army field test – but it ran out of battery mid-combat

Boston Dynamics Spot Singapore
Boston Dynamics’ “Spot” robot.

  • The French army used Boston Dynamics’ Spot robot in a training exercise this week.
  • The exercise was to assess how useful robots like Spot would be in real-life combat situations.
  • Spot ran out of battery in the middle of simulated combat.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The French military are testing Boston Dynamics’ famous robot dog Spot in combat scenarios.

French newspaper Ouest-France reported Wednesday that students at France’s Saint-Cyr military school tested five robots on Tuesday and Wednesday to assess their suitability for combat. Boston Dynamics’ Spot was among the robots.

Students tested the robots in three scenarios – an offensive maneuver at a crossroads, a defensive one during both the day and the night, and finally an urban-combat scenario. The students ran each exercise twice, once without the robots, and once with them.

One of the students who participated in the exercises said the robots offered some benefits in reconnaissance. “I was killed during the urban combat exercise without robots, but not the time when the robot had done reconnaissance,” he said.

But Spot was not without its drawbacks, the same student added. “Spot ran out of battery in the middle of combat,” he said.

Spot was provided to the French military via a French company called Shark Robotics. Boston Dynamics’ vice president of business development Michael Perry told the Verge the company was unaware of Spot’s sale to the French military.

“We’re learning about it as you are […] We’re not clear on the exact scope of this engagement,” Perry told the Verge.

Perry also said the company had strict rules forbidding customers from weaponizing Spot, but that this wouldn’t stop the military using it. “We think that the military, to the extent that they do use robotics to take people out of harm’s way, we think that’s a perfectly valid use of the technology,” he said.

Boston Dynamics started selling Spot to European customers in November 2020, four months after it went on sale in the US. Spot has been used in construction, healthcare, hospitality, and agriculture.

The New York Police Department also has a Spot robot, which it first deployed in October last year.

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50+ retailers that offer military discounts all year long – including Adidas, HelloFresh, and Sunglass Hut

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

liberty mutual military discount

  • US Armed Forces veterans and active-duty members are eligible for discounts at many retailers.
  • A military ID or an online verification saves service members on everything from apparel to tech.
  • For more deals that everyone can take advantage of, check out our master list of sales.

To show gratitude toward veterans and active-duty members of the armed forces, many retailers offer special discounts to active and former military personnel, veterans, families of the Armed Forces, and first-responders.

By presenting a military ID or filling out an application online, eligible shoppers can save up to 50% on everything from new tech to insurance.

To make it easier to navigate, we’ve rounded up a list of stores offering military discounts year-round and on Memorial Day, below. And though there are a good amount listed, it’s always a good practice to ask at any store you’re shopping at since many don’t advertise, or in case they require in-person verification.

Check out all the stores that offer military discounts year-round:

Clothes, shoes, and accessories

eb military discounts

Adidas: 20% off at factory outlets and 30% off online with online verification.

Allen Edmonds: 15% off regularly priced merchandise after ID validation. 

Alpha Industries: 15% off all items with online verification.

Backcountry: 20% discount on select full-price purchases online for military members, veterans, first responders, and more.

Bonobos: 20% military discount for five orders over a course of a year for active-duty service members and veterans.

Carhartt: 25% military discount on apparel and accessories for verified military, first responder, and nursing community.

Champs Sports: 15% discount on most in-store or online purchases. If shopping online, simply select “Use Military Discount” at checkout to verify your eligibility. 

Cole Haan: 20% off for veterans and active-duty members.

Columbia Sportswear: 10% discount for military members through online verification.

Converse: 15% off to all active, reservist, veteran, and retired US Military personnel, as well as the spouses and dependents of active personnel. Verify online.

Dagne Dover: Discounts vary but just fill out this form with your official military email address and the company will send you the discount information.

Eddie Bauer: extra 10% off in-store purchases to all active and former military personnel, veterans, and families of the Armed Forces.

Foot Locker: 15% off most purchases in-store and online. During checkout, click on the “Use Military Discount” link and follow the instructions. 

GlassesUSA: 55% off and free shipping on select styles.

Hanes Outlet Store: 10% off with military ID. 

Kohl’s: 15% off in-store only every Monday for active and former military personnel, veterans, and their families.

L.L.Bean: 10% discount to anyone with a valid military ID and online verification.

Moosejaw: 20% off full-price purchases for military members.

Nike: 20% discount for active, retired, reservist US Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard personnel online and in stores in the US. Verify your eligibility using the form. 

Ray-Ban: 15% off. Click the “Military” dropdown in the shopping cart to verify your status and apply your discount.

Roxy: 15% discount on apparel and surfing supplies.

Sunglass Hut: 15% discount for active-duty military, retirees, veterans, and family members by registering through ID.me.

Timberland: 20% discount off select styles online and in-store orders for active-duty military, veterans, and families with valid credentials.

Tommy John: 20% off for military and first responders. Verify eligibility here

TOMS Shoes: 10% discount. Verify your eligibility here.

Under Armour: 10% off online and in-store for Active Duty, Retirees, Military Spouses, Military Family Members, as well as a 10% discount for First Responders, active Police, Fire, and EMT customers. Verify yourself here to get the discount online.

Vera Bradley: 15% online discount. Verify your eligibility with ID.me.

Yeti: Special pricing for select gear for military members, veterans, and first responders.

Zappos: 10% off all purchases made on the site.

Phone and internet

verizon military discount

AT&T: 25% discount on monthly plan charge.

Sprint: 50% off military family lines.

T-Mobile: 50% off family lines for military personnel. 20% off the standard $70-a-month plan ($55) with AutoPay.

Verizon Wireless: Get Unlimited for $30/line and select from different bundles. All government employees including active duty, reserves, and national guard are eligible. This discount is also extended to retired military, veterans, and their families through Veterans Advantage.

Tech

bb military discount

Apple Store: 10% off Apple products and accessories for veterans and active military. 

Best Buy: discounts are available at some locations; typically 10% off in store. Best Buy offers half off Geek Squad services for military families.

Dell: 10% off PCs and electronics with an email sent to a US sales agent.

Microsoft: up to 10% off on select products for active, former, and retired military personnel and their families.

Home and hardware

hd military discount

Brooklyn Bedding: 25% off your entire order plus free shipping, verify through ID.me.

Casper: 20% discount off any order with a mattress for active duty, retirees, veterans, military spouses, and military family members. 

Eight Sleep: Get 10% off any product, including custom smart mattresses if you’re a firefighter, EMT, or part of the military or police. 

HelloFresh: 50% off first HelloFresh box plus 15% off every HelloFresh Box for a year.

Home Depot: Tax exemption, year-round at all stores to active duty military personnel, reservists, retired or disabled veterans, and their immediate families.

Leesa Mattresses: 15% off for military, first responders, students, and teachers.

Lowes: 10% off eligible purchases. Register here to enroll.

Overstock: Get a free Club O membership and receive 5% reward dollars for every purchase, free shipping, and extra reward dollars.

Sherwin Williams: Get 15% off on paints, stains, and painting supplies to those currently serving, are reservists, or have served in the military.

Home, insurance, and hardware

geico military discount

American Express: Get annual fees waived on any charge or credit card, including the Platinum Card, which offers a number of perks, benefits, and freebies.

AutoZone: Discount varies, so just ask and have a valid military ID on hand. 

Avis: Up to 25% off base rates for U.S military veterans, active-duty military, National Guard & Reservists, and family.

Geico: up to 15% discount your total insurance premium. Check your availability here

Liberty Mutual Insurance: Insurance discounts vary for those who are active, retired, or reserved in the U.S. Armed Forces.

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The Army and Secret Service are looking at extra security screenings for US troops who will be at Biden’s inauguration

A member of the DC National Guard gives directions near a rally at Freedom Plaza Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021, in Washington, in support of President Donald Trump.
A member of the DC National Guard gives directions near a rally at Freedom Plaza Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021, in Washington, in support of President Donald Trump.

  • The US Army and US Secret Service are working together to determine which troops participating in President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration need additional background screening, an Army spokesperson told Insider.
  • The move, which was first reported by Army Times, follows a request from Colorado Rep. Jason Crow, a former Army ranger, for a review of inauguration troops to root out those sympathetic to domestic terrorists, which is how individuals who stormed the Capitol last week have been described.
  • The Army spokesperson also said that the DC National Guard is providing additional training on reporting known or suspected extremist behavior to troops coming into the nation’s capital.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The US Army and the US Secret Service are looking at additional security screening for some US troops expected to take part in President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration next week, an Army spokesperson told Insider Tuesday.

“The Army is working with the Secret Service to determine which service members supporting the national special security event for the Inauguration require additional background screening,” the spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

Army Times was first to report this development as security concerns rise after the Capitol siege by a pro-Trump mob and an FBI warning ta ht far-right groups are discussing days of “armed protests” ahead of inauguration.

News of the Army and Secret Service efforts follow a call between Colorado Rep. Jason Crow and Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy, during which Crow asked the secretary to have military criminal investigative units to look into “troops deployed for the inauguration to ensure that deployed members are not sympathetic to domestic terrorists.”

In a statement on the call, Crow, a former Army ranger, said that McCarthy agreed to take additional measures.

Crow’s concerns about domestic terror sympathies in the armed forces stem from the assault on the Capitol last week that included military veterans and possibly current service members.

Other veterans in Congress, such as Arizona Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego, condemned military personnel who participated in the riots, saying: “In attacking the Capitol, the Congress, and the Constitution that they swore to protect, any current or former military members who may have participated have disgraced themselves and committed serious crimes against the People of the United States.”

The Army spokesperson who emailed Insider said that all US service members take part in the annual Threat Awareness and Reporting Program, which urges military personnel to report known or suspected extremist behavior.

The official said that the DC National Guard is providing additional training to service members coming into DC. There are already several thousand Guard members in the nation’s capital, and the Department of Defense is authorized to deploy as many as 15,000 troops ahead of the inauguration.

As for current members of the military that may have participated in the storming of the Capitol, the Army official said that this is being investigated.

“There is no place for extremism in the military and we will investigate each report individually and take appropriate action,” the spokesperson said. 

“The Army is committed to working closely with the FBI as they identify people who participated in the violent attack on the Capitol to determine if the individuals have any connection to the Army,” the official added. “Any type of activity that involves violence, civil disobedience, or a breach of peace may be punishable under the Uniform Code of Military Justice or under state or federal law.”

Talking with Crow on Sunday, McCarthy told the congressman that “DoD is aware of further possible threats posed by would-be terrorists in the days up to and including Inauguration Day and is working with local and federal law enforcement to coordinate security preparations.”

new FBI bulletin reported Monday warned of possible “armed protests” at the US Capitol and all 50 state capitols ahead of Biden’s inauguration.

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