In Biden's Woke World, No Admiral Qualities

In Biden's Woke World, No Admiral Qualities

October 25, 2021

Joe Biden might not have a plan for the border, inflation, COVID, China, or the supply chain crisis, but don't worry! He has one thing under control. The president, who's up to his clenched fists in political problems, seems to think the best distraction for his messes is talking about the one thing he hasn't shut up about since day one -- gender equality. If you're wondering whether there are more pressing issues facing America, the answer is: not to this White House.

Apparently, the president hasn't had enough time to visit the border, but he has had enough time to pour over his staff's 42-page blueprint on wokeism. The document, "National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality," is everything we've come to expect from this White House -- a declaration of war on pro-life laws, science, parents, education, and common sense. Entire segments are devoted to the importance of abortion and America's obligations to make Roe v. Wade permanent law, abolish the Hyde amendment, funnel more money to Planned Parenthood and "family planning programs." When the administration isn't busy demanding affordable abortions for both genders, they move on to lobbying for even more radicalized sex education programs (which are already considered "too graphic" for TV).

Biden also took the opportunity to pick a fight with parents, once again staking out his outrageous agenda for gender ideology at school. Ignoring the nationwide headlines about where his transgender policies can lead, the White House again vows to make everything gender neutral, including promoting "equitable access to sports and school facilities for all student athletes..." Alliance Defending Freedom's Christiana Holcomb could hardly believe the administration's tone-deafness. "It's laughable to tout 'gender equity' while simultaneously promoting the erasure of women and girls into law," she tweeted.

Considering the White House's slumping approval rating, this public service announcement about the president's pet cause couldn't come at a worse time. While Biden's own poll numbers hit basement levels, his LGBTQ priorities were already there. A new poll from Virginia, where these issues have ignited local communities, shows that even liberal states are anything but supportive of the president's extremism. Across every demographic, Biden's attack on privacy, sports, and girls' safety is a major miss. On the open bathroom question, only 39 percent agree with the president that letting boys into girls' stalls is a good idea. Forty-eight percent oppose. As for letting boys compete on girls' teams, it's not even competitive. By a 52 to 29 percent margin, all voters -- including white, black, independent, Hispanic -- despise the idea of letting biological boys rip girls off of scholarships, rankings, and opportunities from Virginia's daughters.

But then, the White House has never cared much about what voters think about the president's gender fixation. In eight months, he's spent every cent of his political capital to elevate the issue across the military, education, even health care. It's the one issue, in a raft of policy flip-flops, where Americans have never had to doubt Biden's sincerity. While the rest of the world burns, his biggest priority is still cheerleading for men like Rachel Levine. In a gratuitous publicity stunt, the administration decided to make Levine -- the second in command at HHS -- a four-star admiral in a "uniformed branch" most people have never heard of: the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps.

Apparently, making Levine the highest-ranking person who identifies as transgender in government wasn't enough. Now, in a PR campaign that's offensive to men and women in the Armed Services, the president's team fanned out across the networks, calling it a historic appointment and the first "female four-star officer" across the "uniformed services." Of course, that isn't accurate on a number of levels -- not the least of which is that Levine is a man. It's also, as Allie Stuckey points out, a great insult to Michelle J. Howard, the first real female four-star admiral promoted by the Navy under -- you guessed it -- Joe Biden.

Like a lot of veterans, Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) was irritated by the fanfare, tweeting, "The title of the first female four-star officer gets taken by a man." The Indiana congressman had barely hit "post," when the Left's social media censors pounced, locking Banks out of Twitter for violating their "hateful conduct" policy. But if that was supposed to chasten Banks, it didn't. "Twitter has suspended my official account for posting a statement of FACT," he argued. I won't back down... We can't allow Big Tech to prevent us from telling the truth... Calling someone that was born and lived as a man for 54 years the first 'female' four-star officer is an insult to every little girl who dreams of breaking glass ceilings one day." (He was later reinstated after deleting the tweet in question.)

Meanwhile, retired Army Ranger John Lucas can't believe the audacity of the White House to "present Levine as an accomplished four-star admiral." It's a fraud, he argues, "particularly coupled with the references to all of the uniformed services, as if they are somehow comparable."

"Although now designated as an 'admiral,' Levine commands no sailors, no submarines, and no ships. At least the admiral managing the [National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration] has ships and aircraft to command. Unlike Navy admirals, Levine did not become an admiral after decades of service, including overseas deployments, time away from family, and the hazards that accompany military service. Nor did he attend Annapolis or any other service academy, or even Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) or officer candidate school. He was never an ensign, lieutenant, commander, captain, or even a vice admiral... There is no doubt that he is most famous for claiming to be a woman, after 33 years of marriage and fathering two children with a real woman."

What happened to "follow the science?" Well, like everything else, the truth only matters to the Left when it's convenient. And until the science of biology, vaccinations, sexuality, human conception, and child development aligns with their narrative, the president will do what he's done with every real issue since taking office: ignore it.

Tony Perkins's Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

Bad Call: Authors of Anti-Parent Letter Phonying It in

October 25, 2021

Can a fake apology reverse political suicide? National School Boards Association (NSBA) CEO Chip Slaven and NSBA President Viola Garcia certainly hope so, after the blowback from their well-publicized letter to President Biden in which they asked the administration to open a domestic terrorism investigation into parents. On Friday the NSBA issued another letter, trying to distance itself from that previous letter. "We regret and apologize for the letter," they wrote. "We should have a better process in place."

"I don't accept the apology because I don't believe it's sincere," said Florida mother Quisha King, who spoke at FRC's recent Pray Vote Stand Summit in Loudoun County, Virginia. This is unsurprising, given that the NSBA's letter resembles an apology as well as a child's crayon imitation resembling Starry Night. For starters, the letter never admits wrongdoing in calling parents domestic terrorists, although most incidents they cited involved no threats (and while Attorney General Merrick Garland immediately opened an investigation because of a "disturbing uptick" in threats he pled ignorance about specifics before Congress).

The closest it came to an admission of guilt was a single sentence, tucked inside a larger paragraph, "However, there was no justification for some of the language included in the letter." Which language? How much? Note the impersonal, passive expression: "there was no justification"--a far easier admission for someone suppressing pangs of conscience than the more direct: "I was wrong."

The non-apology is not to parents, but to "NSBA Members"--that is, local school board organizations. The letter was merely to mollify its constituent organizations, after at least 21 state school board associations have distanced themselves from the anti-parent letter, some even threatening to end their membership. The state boards claimed, rightly, that they were never consulted about whether to fire off such an incendiary missive. In fact, emails obtained by FOIA reveal that while NSBA officials colluded with White House staff, they didn't even consult their own Board of Directors.

Nor is it clear that the offending representatives signed on to the non-apology. The letter comes, without signatures, simply from the "NSBA Board of Directors." It's unclear whether either Garcia or Slaven are voting members of this sizable group. If the letter comes from them, why didn't they sign? If not, how can others apologize for their behavior while failing to hold them accountable in any way? The letter promises to "do better going forward" by conducting "a formal review of our processes and procedures," which is a standard way for bureaucrats to pass the buck. Is anyone apologizing for anything in this letter?

For the past year, parents have been raking local school board officials over the coals for anti-child policies from shuttering classrooms to imposing mask mandates to indoctrinating children with a toxic cocktail of race-baiting, age-inappropriate sexual content, and LGBT-glorifying curriculum. The NSBA officials' failed gambit just demonstrated they couldn't take the heat. The plan was to unite America's school boards with the federal government against parents. Instead, school board associations defected to parents, leaving the activist officials over their skis.

The blunder has made Democrats desperate. This weekend former President Obama, speaking in Virginia, criticized Right-wing media for peddling "phony, trumped-up culture wars." But the only phoniness lies in those painting parents as the villains, and in those issuing fake apologies. Perhaps the clearest response came from radio host Larry O'Connor, "Let's be clear: THEY are waging the culture war. WE are fighting back."

Biden's Taiwan Gaffe Causes Confusion, But Actions Speak Louder

October 25, 2021

President Biden is back at it with his characteristic gaffes. But as leader of the free world, his gaffes can now have international consequences. Biden's latest misspeaks regarding U.S. policy towards Taiwan sent mixed signals to our allies and adversaries alike, inserting confusion into an already tense situation.

During last week's presidential Townhall on CNN, Biden was asked whether the United States would come to Taiwan's defense if China attacked. He responded, "Yes, we have a commitment to do that." That was news to his policy team at the White House, who scrambled to clarify that U.S. policy hasn't changed.

With that off-handed remark, Biden seemed to negate a long-standing U.S. policy of "strategic ambiguity," in which the U.S. does not announce what it will do if China invades Taiwan. The White House quickly tried to clean up the mess, with press secretary Jen Psaki telling reporters, "[Biden] wasn't announcing a change in policy nor have we changed our policy."

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin responded that "there is no room for China to compromise or make concessions" on the issue. Beijing considers Taiwan a break-away province, but the island has never been under the control of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). With Taiwan's thriving economy, political participation opportunities, and robust human rights protections, it's understandable why the Taiwanese people don't want to come under the thumb of the CCP. For the United States, Taiwan's strategic location and democratic society make it an important ally.

The White House's quick backtracking causes far more confusion than "strategic ambiguity" ever did. As a Wall Street Journal editorial asked, "Does the fast White House retreat from Mr. Biden's words mean the U.S. doesn't intend to defend Taiwan? What is U.S. policy?" Biden's strong statement, coupled with the quick reversal, may leave Taiwanese leaders feeling more vulnerable than before.

Earlier this month, Biden said that he and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to abide by the "Taiwan agreement." This left China policy wonks wondering what exactly this new "Taiwan agreement" was. It is thought that Biden meant to refer to the Taiwan Relations Act of 1997, which Congress passed to promote U.S. relations with Taiwan. Tensions between China and Taiwan are at an all-time high. China sent almost 150 warplanes into Taiwan's air defense zone earlier this month. Now is not the time for the American president to misspeak on the issue.

With the embarrassing display of a chaotic U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan still looming, Taiwanese leaders have reason to be suspicious of any commitments from the Biden administration. And when it comes to China, American officials haven't been showing a great deal of spine lately.

Reports suggest the Biden administration is wavering on holding the Chinese government accountable for egregious human rights violations, using softer language to get Beijing on board with climate change policies. Meanwhile, human rights conditions in China are the worst they have been since the Mao era. Pastors are in prison, ethnic minorities are repressed, and political rights are crushed. In Xinjiang, Chinese authorities are carrying out a genocide against Uyghur Muslims, as officially determined by the U.S. government.

When the Biden administration cannot even stand firm on speaking out about China's human rights violations, how can Taiwanese leaders trust that the U.S. military will come to their defense if Chinese troops invade?

Taiwan doesn't need false promises or empty rhetoric. It needs support in bolstering its deterrence capabilities. The United States easily can and should help with this. The United States should help upgrade Taiwan's defense weaponry system, especially its missile defense and air to surface capabilities.

In addition to military aid, the United States can empower Taiwan by fostering closer diplomatic relations. The Biden administration should invite the Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen to visit Washington D.C., and even to address a joint session of Congress. These simple diplomatic acts would show Beijing that the United States is serious in its support for Taiwan. Beijing should no longer be allowed to marginalize Taiwan from the international community through bullying and threats.

President Biden should take concrete actions to support Taiwan, a democratic ally defending its sovereignty against a thuggish authoritarian regime that would love nothing more than to crush Taiwan's freedoms. When it comes to Taiwan, actions speak louder than words.