Lawmakers raise questions about Navy’s use of drag queen to recruit

(The Center Square) – Republican lawmakers are asking questions about the Navy’s decision to enlist an active-duty sailor and drag queen to recruit people through social media platforms such as TikTok.

Fourteen U.S. Senators sent a letter to Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro seeking more information about the Navy’s Digital Ambassador Pilot Program.

“While we understand the importance of social media for modern recruiting, we are concerned about both the promotion of a banned app and behavior that many deem inappropriate in a professional workplace,” the letter said.

Fourteen Republican Senators asked for information about the program, including how much has been spent on it. They also sought data regarding the impact of the Navy’s Digital Ambassador Program and if the Navy paid influencers under the program.

The Senators further asked about the Navy’s use of TikTok, an app owned and operated by ByteDance Limited, a private company based in Beijing, China. President Joe Biden signed the No TikTok on Government Devices Act in December 2022. The act required the Director of the Office of Management and Budget to develop standards and guidelines for agencies requiring the removal of TikTok from federal information technology, according to a White House memo.

“Does the Navy endorse drag shows? Where does the Navy draw the line on promotion of the personal activities of its influencers? Would the Navy enlist burlesque dancers or exotic dancers to reach possible recruits?,” the Senators asked in the letter. “Such activity is not appropriate for promotion in a professional workplace or the United States military.”

The letter sought a response by May 24.

U.S. Sens. Ted Budd, R-North Carolina, Tom Cotton, R-Arkansas, Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Marco Rubio, R-Florida, Mike Lee, R-Utah, Steve Daines, R-Montana, Rick Scott, R-Florida, Tommy Tuberville, R-Alabama, Eric Schmitt, R-Missouri, John Barrasso, R-Wyoming, Bill Cassidy, R-Louisiana, Roger Marshall, R-Kansas, Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyoming, and Markwayne Mullin, R-Oklahoma, signed the letter.

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