Gaetz Demand Answers After Airmen Get Career Threats For Attending Conservative Rally

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) on Tuesday demanded that Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall reveal the identities of those responsible for telling airmen they could not attend a Turning Point Action rally.

A social media post emerged showing a threatening text airmen at the Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota received telling them not to attend the conservative rally. The text message threatened that airmen who attended the rally could “jeopardize their continued service in the US military.”

“We just got word of an event going at the fairgrounds downtown, called Dakota Patriot Rally. Its guest speaker is from an alt-right organization called Turning Point Action,” the text reads. “Please advise your folks that if they are going to be downtown this weekend, it’s good to be cautious, as the crowds this event may attract could be confrontational to military members. Additionally please remind them that participation with groups such as Turning Point Action could jeopardize their continued service in the US military.”

Gaetz, in a letter to Kendall, argued that the letter shows a growing politicization at Air Force bases that favors one party.

“I write to express grave concern regarding brazen partisan comments made by the command at Minot Air Force Base (AFB) in North Dakota. As reported by American Military News, the leadership at Minot AFB sent a series of messages to service members to warn them of the dangers of being at or near a downtown rally that featured a speaker from Turning Point Action, which leadership claimed was an “alt-right organization,” Gaetz said in his letter. “You are obligated to intervene, as this series of actions demonstrates a clear misapplication of the Hatch Act, which states members on active duty should not engage in political activities while in uniform to avoid creating the appearance that their political activities imply official Department of Defense (DoD) sponsorship, approval or endorsement of a candidate, campaign or cause. The Dakota Patriot Rally in Minot, North Dakota, on November 17, 2023, took place after work hours and, to my knowledge, not on federal property; thus, the text messages and emails from command show a growing politicization at installations within the Department of the Air Force (DAF), favoring one political party or political view.”

Gaetz demanded that the DAF provide the name of the individual who approved the letter. The lawmaker also requested specific policies within the DAF that forbid airmen’s participation or assembly in political causes while off duty. Gaetz also demanded what specific actions the Air Force would take to ensure that service members’ constitutional rights are not violated in the future.