Critical race theory holds that systemic racism is part of American society and that historical prejudice influences the way minorities are treated today.
In a letter Wednesday to Chief of Space Operations Gen. Jay Raymond and acting Air Force Secretary John Roth, two dozen members of Congress called for the reinstatement of Lt. Cmdr. Matthew Lohmeier. They wrote that "promoting critical race theory will disrupt the good order and discipline of the Space Force and eviscerate our nation's ability to attract patriotic talent to serve in uniform and fight our wars."
The lawmakers argue that diversity training is a euphemism for rooting out conservative ideologies and gave several examples of other service members criticizing Fox News personality Tucker Carlson and involving Minnesota police officers after the killing of George Floyd, or the military itself, without similar punishment.
The first signatory to the letter, Colorado Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn, told the Washington Examiner that the expulsion of Lohmeier is an example of bias against those who hold conservative opinions.
”I'm concerned that there is a double standard,” he stated. “When people make politically correct controversial remarks, there are no consequences. If someone makes a conservative, controversial remark, they can get in big trouble.”
Lamborn said Lohmeier had begun to distinguish himself in the Space Force.
“Lt. Col. Lohmeier was a rising star with an impeccable record. I think his stellar records should be part of the story about him.”
The young Space Force member served as Raymond’s aid, graduated in the Air Force’s premier graduate school for strategists, and was selected to command a squadron.
A recent report refuted by the Defense Department claimed a panel exploring how to improve diversity in the ranks would track service members’ social media posts for extremism.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby claimed this week that there is no such program for continuously monitoring service members.
“We should always seek to root out all kinds of extremism in line with existing regulations,” Florida Republican Rep. Mike Waltz, a former Green Beret, told the Washington Examiner. “My concern is this could be weaponized to target service members with political leanings that stand in contrast with the current administration.”
The Space Force Thursday declined to comment, noting the Lohmeier case was an open investigation. A spokesman referred to a Space Force statement issued over the weekend.
"Lt. Gen. Stephen Whiting, Space Operations Command commander, relieved Lt. Col. Matthew Lohmeier of command of the 11th Space Warning Squadron, Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado, May 14, due to loss of trust and confidence in his ability to lead," the Space Force said in a statement to the Washington Examiner.
"This decision was based on public comments made by Lt. Col. Lohmeier in a recent podcast. Lt. Gen. Whiting has initiated a Command Directed Investigation (CDI) on whether these comments constituted prohibited partisan political activity."