Veterans criticized Republican Senator Ted Cruz on Thursday after he complained about a U.S. Army recruiting ad that was featured in a viral clip comparing it with a Russian military ad.
The video starts with the Russian ad, depicting soldiers doing pushups, parachuting out of an airplane and aiming their weapons as dramatic music reaches a crescendo in the background. It then pivots quickly to an animated Army clip of a female soldier raised by two mothers who decides to join the U.S. Army.
The video was originally shared on TikTok and now has more than 3 million views on Twitter. Cruz was apparently not a fan and tweeted out, "Holy crap. Perhaps a woke, emasculated military is not the best idea...."
The senator faced backlash on social media from veterans, lawmakers and others following his remarks. Retired Army National Guard lieutenant colonel and Democratic Senator Tammy Duckworth, who lost both of her legs while serving in Iraq, took issue with Cruz's comment.
"Holy crap," Duckworth tweeted. "Perhaps a U.S. Senator shouldn't suggest that the *Russian* military is better than the American military that protected him from an insurrection he helped foment?"
VoteVets, a political group that supports veterans and promotes liberal causes, also criticized Cruz.
"Ted Cruz attacks a US Army soldier for telling her story, says he prefers Russians. Because Ted Cruz is a sedition-loving traitor," the group wrote.
Amy McGrath, a former U.S. Marine who ran against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell last year, also took aim at Cruz. "Dear @tedcruz- you have no idea what being a warrior is all about. Signed, all women who have worn the uniform to protect your right to be an ass," she wrote.
Former Missouri Senate candidate and Army National Guard veteran Jason Kander questioned Cruz's toughness.
"You can do what like seven pushups I'm guessing?" he tweeted.
Cruz responded to critics saying the U.S. has the "greatest military on earth," but pinned blame on Democrats and media for "trying to turn them into pansies." His spokesperson Erin Perrine told CBS News in a statement that Cruz "passionately supports the brave men and women of the United States military and has repeatedly expressed concerns that Democrat politicians, left wing bureaucrats, and the media are politicizing our armed forces to promote a fringe woke agenda based on identity politics."
"Our military should be focused on winning wars, and we endanger our national security and our servicemembers when they focus on anything else," Perrine added.
However, he wasn't the only one who took issue with the video. An Army official told the Army Times that the comment section of the Army ad on YouTube was removed because of "negative commentary."
The ad features Army Corporal Emma Malonelord, who was raised in California by her two mothers. She decided to join the Army after meeting a recruiter as a student at University of California, Davis.