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US Navy lied about recruitment program that includes drag queen: Rep. Jim Banks

WASHINGTON — Months earlier than Republicans started protesting the Navy’s determination to faucet an active-duty drag queen to function a “digital ambassador” to draw a various workforce, the service reportedly denied the existence of the recruitment outreach program throughout a March name with the Home Armed Companies Committee, The Put up has completely realized.

Although this system had run from October to March and featured drag performer Yeoman 2nd Class Joshua Kelley as one in every of 5 “digital ambassadors,” HASC Subcommittee on Navy Personnel Chairman Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) informed The Put up {that a} Navy briefer stated this system “didn’t exist.”

“We face a historic recruitment disaster and as a substitute of focusing efforts on strengthening our drive, the Biden administration is forcing wokeness on our service members,” Banks stated.

“Navy management knew this was a ridiculous and embarrassing stunt, and that’s the reason they initially denied involvement with this system.”

Now, after Kelley’s pro-Navy outreach efforts on Instagram and TikTok made headlines final week, Banks and fellow subcommittee member Rep. Mark Alford (R-Mo.) is asking Protection Secretary Lloyd Austin to search out out why lawmakers had been misled.

In a letter Tuesday, the 2 gave Austin till Could 23 to answer a dozen requests associated to the Navy program and supply an “reason DoD beforehand knowledgeable HASC {that a} digital ambassador program didn’t exist when in actual fact it did.”

The 2 additionally requested Austin to supply a listing of all DoD officers who helped decide Kelley — whose drag identify is “Harpy Daniels” — to function one in every of 5 digital ambassadors in this system, in addition to those that approved him to beforehand carry out in drag for fellow troops aboard the plane service USS Ronald Reagan.


US Navy Yeoman 2nd Class Joshua Kelley
US Navy Yeoman 2nd Class Joshua Kelley, also referred to as Harpy Daniels.
Instagram / @harpy_daniels

Joshua Kelley
Kelley posts social media content material in drag.
Instagram / @harpy_daniels

They’re additionally searching for the names of the opposite 4 digital ambassadors, in addition to some other “formally sanctioned influencers all through all of the navy providers.”

“It now seems that not solely did the Navy interact on this misguided effort, however it’s incomprehensibly believed that this woke marketing campaign ought to turn out to be the defining face of the service,” Banks and Alford wrote within the letter.

“Whereas the Navy beforehand dismissed the existence of the ambassador program, a US Navy spokesman not too long ago embraced the trouble in responding to the backlash.”

The 2 had been referring to a Newsweek report final week during which an unnamed Navy spokesperson defended Kelley’s participation in this system, saying, “Very like the nation we serve, our Navy is stronger once we draw upon our various assets, expertise, capabilities and skills. .

“We stay dedicated to an inclusive atmosphere.”

The Put up has not been capable of independently confirm their account of the Navy briefing.

It’s unclear whether or not the briefer deliberately misled lawmakers, was uninformed of this system or misspoke.


Harpy Daniels
Kelly was one of many program’s 5 “digital ambassadors.”
Instagram / @harpy_daniels

For its half, the service has been open up to now in regards to the digital ambassador program. The Workplace of the Navy Chief of Info introduced in January 2022 it will add digital engagement to its present Neighborhood Ambassador Program and needed so as to add people “who’ve entry to audiences consisting of younger ladies and communities of coloration” to its ranks.

The lawmakers additionally criticized the Navy for choosing Kelley for this system, arguing that “notion is driving actuality, and each present and former service members are alarmed at ‘a tradition placing ‘wokeness’ earlier than coaching and fight effectiveness.’”

“Fringe ideologies and drag reveals don’t have any place in our navy. Relatively, the navy ought to be centered on deterring adversaries and remaining a deadly drive to defend the nation,” they wrote.

“Selling drag reveals does nothing to boost navy readiness and war-fighting capabilities.”


Joshua Daniels
“Navy management knew this was a ridiculous and embarrassing stunt, and that’s the reason they initially denied involvement with this system,” Banks stated.
Instagram / @harpy_daniels

To that finish, the lawmakers additionally requested Austin to supply “any information, research, communications and documentation regarding the consequences, statistical outcomes and prices of drag reveals and different ‘woke’ initiatives on navy recruitment and readiness.”

Banks and Alford additionally requested “any DoD directions … that govern performing in or authorizing drag reveals” and “any ruler and rules for service members participating in such exercise whereas actively serving within the armed forces.”

“As a Navy veteran, I’m dedicated to exposing and rooting out wokeness in our navy,” Banks informed The Put up.


US Navy Yeoman 2nd Class Joshua Kelley
The service reportedly denied the existence of the recruitment outreach program throughout a March name with the Home Armed Companies Committee.
Instagram / @harpy_daniels

The Navy was unable to supply an announcement by press time Tuesday.

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