WASHINGTON (AFP) - The Pentagon strongly rebuked Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson on Thursday (March 11) for calling the rise of women in the US military "out of control" and a "mockery" of its war-fighting mission.
Spokesman John Kirby said Defence Department Secretary Lloyd Austin and other top officers shared deep "revulsion" over Carlson's comments late on Tuesday, which accused President Joe Biden of making US defence forces "more feminine."
Carlson "essentially demeaned the entire US military and how we defend and how we serve this country," Kirby told reporters.
"The diversity of our military is one of our greatest strengths," said Kirby.
"What we absolutely won't do is take personnel advice from a talk show host, or the Chinese military," he said.
Women constitute about 17 per cent of the 1.3 million active duty forces, serving in nearly every type of job, Kirby noted, including flying jets and commanding ships.
On Tuesday, Biden nominated two women to four-star general positions leading combatant commands - elite appointments that were stalled under previous president Donald Trump.
Biden tweeted a picture of himself, Vice-President Kamala Harris and the two nominees with the caption: "I want every child to know that this is what vice-presidents and generals in the United States Armed Forces look like."
After those appointments were announced, Carlson, whose nightly Fox News show is the second most popular among all cable news channels, let loose with a diatribe against the increase in women soldiers.
"New hair styles and maternity flight suits. Pregnant women are going to fight our wars," he said, in front of a photograph of a pregnant woman in uniform.
"While China's military becomes more masculine as it assembles the world's largest navy, our military needs to become, as Joe Biden says, more feminine.
"This is a mockery of the US military and its core mission, which is winning wars," Carlson said.