US

Right-wing media is blaming trans rights and Pride flags for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

Lily Wakefield February 26, 2022
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Ukraine: Tucker Carlson and Matt Walsh blamed Russia's invasion on trans rights

Tucker Carlson (left) and Matt Walsh (right) have blamed Russia's invasion of Ukraine on trans rights and 'wokeness'. (Fox News and Getty/ Jason Kempin)

Right-wing US media is blaming trans rights, Pride flags and “wokeness” for Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine.

Russian president Vladimir Putin launched a “special military operation” in Ukraine early on Thursday (24 February) morning, and since then Russian air and missile strikes have targeted major cities across the country, ground forces have entered Ukraine, and hundreds of Ukrainian lives have been lost.

People are desperately fleeing the violence in Ukraine, with the UN estimating that around 120,000 people have already escaped, and LGBT+ Ukrainians are particularly at risk. 

But as governments around the world scramble to impose sanctions on Russia, right-wing US media are blaming the war and bloodshed on Pride flags and trans rights.

The Daily Wire‘s Matt Walsh took to Twitter as the Russian invasion began, to write: “My huge fear right now is that our military hasn’t had enough diversity training to prepare them for this moment.

“Have we recruited enough lesbians? Are our armed forces sufficiently trans inclusive? Have they confronted their white privilege? Do they know enough about systemic racism? These are the questions that haunt us all.”

According to Media Matters for America, he later insisted on his podcast that Joe Biden was trying to “fill our military with lesbians who can’t do three pushups”, and said it was “not a coincidence that this has happened after Biden spent his first year in office focusing primarily on wokeness and intentionally making our military weaker and more feminine”.

Fox News commentators were lining up to blame Pride and LGBT+ rights for the Russian invasion.

Lisa Boothe said the US was “weak” because “our focus is flying Pride flags around the world”, while Tucker Carlson said that when Biden referenced “standing up for our values”, he meant “trans rights”.

Fox News host Pete Hegseth said Putin made “an aggressive move” because Americans were “running around talking about genders and reparations”.

Jed Babbin, columnist for The American Spectator, declared that “a military that gives priority to climate change, LGBTQ+ issues, and the virtues of democratic socialism is surely inviting Putin to bite off even bigger chunks of Ukraine”, adding: “Tough talk doesn’t impress adversaries who know that a woke military is no threat to them.”

As Lis Power, director of media intelligence at Media Matter For America, put it: “Things conservatives are blaming for Putin waging war in Ukraine: Joe Biden, the media, Media Matters, me, Pride flags, equity programs, wokeness.

“Things conservatives aren’t blaming for Putin waging war in Ukraine: Putin.”

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