MOUNT PLEASANT, Iowa — Saying the armed forces should not serve as a "cauldron for social experiments," U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, is voicing skepticism about the military's decision to end its ban on transgender soldiers.
"How about having a military focusing on hunting down and killing bad guys?" the presidential candidate said Monday during a stop in Sac City. "I think that should be the focus of the military instead of treating it as this, like, crucible for social justice innovations. We've lost sight of what their job is, and that's what we need to get back to."
Cruz addressed the issue again a day later in Mount Pleasant, saying the Obama administration is "trying to pursue sexual identity politics" by lifting the transgender ban.
Yet in each city, Cruz stopped short of saying that, if elected president, he would bring back either the transgender ban or Don't Ask, Don't Tell, the policy that prohibited gay people from openly serving in the military. In Sac City, Cruz was specifically asked how he would handle the 2010 repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell under President Barack Obama.
"I think military policy should follow what is necessary for good order and discipline, that we shouldn’t view the military as a cauldron for social experiments," Cruz replied. "And so on questions like that, my first question is going to be listen to the expert judgment of the generals and admirals.”
In both Sac City and Mount Pleasant, Cruz tied his remarks on the transgender ban to a "Rally for Religious Liberty" he held in August in Des Moines. Among the guests was Phillip Monk, an Air Force veteran who says he was dismissed for answering a commander's questions about his views on marriage.