United States Army Gen. Mark Milley defended Monday the Department of Defense's decision to cancel a drag show last week at Nellis Air Force Base in southern Nevada.
Speaking with CNN Pentagon correspondent Oren Liebermann ahead of the 79th anniversary of D-Day in Normandy, France, Milley called Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin's move the "absolute right thing to do."
The Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman also said that drag shows "were never part of DoD policy, to begin with, and they're certainly not funded by federal funds."
However, Milley pushed back against claims from some congressional Republicans that "woke" policies were being enacted in the military, claiming that "a lot of this is misunderstood and mischaracterized."
"I think the accusations of woke are grossly over-exaggerated," Milley insisted. "Every soldier, sailor, airman, and Marine are out there focused on the mission, and the mission is to defend the United States, its people, our interests, and the constitution of the United States."
The Hill noted that Milley's statements came after the Pentagon canceled the show and declared it would no longer "host drag events at its installations or facilities," citing decades-old regulations on conduct and ethics.
Earlier Monday, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre deflected questions to the Department of Defense on banning drag shows, emphasizing President Joe Biden's support for the LGBTQ+ community.
"As Secretary Austin has expressed in his Pride Month statement that he put out just last week, the Biden-Harris administration will celebrate LGBTQI+ service members' contributions with pride across federal agencies, including at the Department of Defense," Jean-Pierre proclaimed.
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