Ron DeSantis blames ‘drag queens’ for military recruitment woes

The Governor also cites DEI, gender ideology as problems in the armed forces.

In Iowa Saturday, Gov. Ron DeSantis said “drag queens” were part of the reason people didn’t want to enlist in the United States military.

“When you see videos of folks recruiting for the military services using things like drag queens, you know, that is just fundamentally wrong,” DeSantis said in Sioux Center at the Feenstra Family Picnic, a major confab of Iowa Republicans.

The U.S. Navy, which DeSantis was a member of, used a female impersonator as a “digital ambassador.” The service member, named Joshua Kelley, performs as “Harpy Daniels.”

DeSantis will sign legislation cracking down on drag shows later this Spring.

The bill authorizes state government officials within the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) to suspend or revoke the liquor license of any establishment that admits minors to a live, adult performance, which could include “lewd conduct, or the lewd exposure of prosthetic or imitation genitals or breasts,” meant to appeal to “prurient, shameful, or morbid interests … without serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value for the age of the child present.”

DeSantis harped on other culture war battlegrounds in his Iowa remarks, which he claimed impeded recruitment efforts.

“The military has lost its way on some of this stuff. They are politicizing what being in the military is. They are embracing concepts like (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion), they are embracing things like gender ideology,” DeSantis said.

The Governor added that “we need to get the military focused on what it’s supposed to be.”

“I don’t want to run into any more veterans saying, ‘You know, governor, I don’t think that I would want my son or daughter to join the military anymore.'”

DeSantis suggested that people were more motivated to serve back during the Global War on Terror than now.

“And even in some of the worst days in Iraq, you still had people that wanted to sign up and come knowing they would get sent to Iraq because it meant a lot to them to wear the uniform of our country and they wanted to serve,” DeSantis said.

“And I can tell you, I was always proud of wearing that uniform. I could have made a boatload of money. I had a lot of great academic pedigree. I had worked hard to achieve that, but I chose to do that,” DeSantis said, adding that “the satisfaction of knowing you’re wearing the cloth of your country was better than anything money could buy.”

Anne Geggis contributed reporting.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


  • gloriajame

    May 13, 2023 at 2:04 pm

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  • Elliott Offen

    May 13, 2023 at 3:18 pm

    That has almost nothing to do with recruitment problems. This man is a liar and a neo nazi propagandist. Trans is the new Jew.

    • Impeach Biden

      May 13, 2023 at 3:31 pm

      This doesn’t belong in the military. Sorry all of you woke liberal wackos think the military is a social experiment. Truly disgusting what is going on in the military and yes I did serve.

      • Jon

        May 14, 2023 at 10:58 am

        You people are scared of everything. Always crying about something, always telling people how you want thrm to live. You people are brain washed. Mass shooters spout your crazy views. What the he’ll is woke? You don’t know you just repeat leaders who are taking advantage of your narrow mind in order to get your vote. Republicans are white trash and uncle Toms. Change the name of your party to “The Chicken Little Party” “because the sky is always falling), or to the Trump Trash Party. You nut jobs confuse patriotic for authoritarianism. Most of the things you bitch about don’t even affect you.

      • Tjb

        May 15, 2023 at 12:43 pm

        Are you one of the domestic terrorists that is sometimes found in our military? The DOD and DIA are more concern about domestic terrorist in our military than the gender ideology and DEI discussed in the article.

    • TJC

      May 13, 2023 at 4:39 pm

      Agreed. He is blaming a small group of people, harmless people, for everything he claims is wrong with education, commerce, and now the military. He is inviting his (all too willing) cronies in Tallahassee to craft laws targeting the trans community for the “safety” of other citizens. Classic nazi style propaganda, same stuff used against the Jews of Germany. Find a group, put a target on them, stay in power.

  • Earl Pitts American

    May 13, 2023 at 6:30 pm

    Good afternoon America,
    A Nation will never strike fear into its enemies with a bunch of homertestical men flouncing around in ladies clothing as being even remotley related to its armed forces.
    Up until recently America used to be able to at least take solace in the fact that The Britts were gayer than us.
    Now the Britts are laughing at us because under Biden’s pupett adminstration America has shamefully and dangerously taken the title of the gayest armed forces ever on the planet.
    Thank you America,
    Earl Pitts American

    • Impeach Biden

      May 13, 2023 at 7:41 pm

      Everyone is laughing at this clown show administration. Putin waited for Biden to get inaugurated before he invaded Ukraine. Meanwhile on the Southern Border we have literally millions crossing illegally into this country. The zombies don’t care.

    • Dont Say FLA

      May 13, 2023 at 7:43 pm

      Yo’ Mr EPA How ya doin’? I has a question for ya: If drag queens are not scary, what up with Florida and Tennessee being so damn scared of drag queens? I no comprendo! If drag queens scare the panties offa Rhonda, they probably oughta scare Talibans or whoever the heck USA’s proclaimed boogeyman is these days. I mean remember tv show M*A*S*H? With Klinger? He wasn’t a problem for anyone. I don’t get all the concern over the most friendliest, harmless bunch of folks around. Marine Corp can turn drag queens into brutal killers same as anybody else. And when the drag queens get back home after service, they have an outlet for dealing with the PTSD and shit, unlike macho dudes that deny their pains and end up shooting up the mall or movie or whatever. Noooooo comprendo!!

      • Impeach Biden

        May 13, 2023 at 7:47 pm

        MASH was a fictional show. You on the other hand are a non fiction idiot.

    • Jon

      May 14, 2023 at 11:03 am

      No country in the world wants to get attacked by American military. They all fear our weapons and skillfully trained soldiers. You spout bigotry and lies.

      • Earl Pitts American

        May 14, 2023 at 8:04 pm

        Good Afternoon Jon,
        So maybe you are thinking Iran, the Taliban, and Palistinins fear your Drag Queens pinning them down and penitrating their bholes?
        Thank you Jon,
        Think about your dook 4 brains leftist corrupted brain and try to save your self. I’m thinking about opening up an insaine assylum and checking your triffiling @55 in first.
        Thank you Jon,
        Other than that have a nice day. And Jon call Mom.
        Earl Pitts American

  • Dont Say FLA

    May 13, 2023 at 7:38 pm

    Did Rhonda get turned on by watching Bosom Buddies when he was a kid? Was that in between his pummellings from the bullies screaming “Why do you keep punching yourself in the face, RHONDA?” Seriously what in TF is wrong with this guy? He and Trump, I suspect, must be secret plants from the Dems, put into place to make the GOP look like, eh, nevermind. Meatwad ain’t a plant unless we talking Terri Schaivo style vegetable.

  • Impeach Biden

    May 13, 2023 at 7:38 pm

    Wow so my initial reply was ousted by the moderator of this left leaning site. Let me try it again. The military is no place for these “drag queen” recruiters. . It is not a social experiment. These volunteers have to be trained for war fighting not sensitivity training. Let me say that I have served in the military.

    • Jon

      May 14, 2023 at 11:06 am

      You nut jobs wanted to lock up Hillary for a server in a bathtub. You want to empeach Biden now (just because dear leader was rightfully empeached). Trump is trash and so are all Republicans. Real Americans are figuring that out. Crawl back under your rock.

    • Michael K

      May 14, 2023 at 8:35 pm

      Did you know that the American military protects ALL Americans – and welcomes ALL Americans to join its ranks, so long as they are fit to serve. Fun Fact: There have ALWAYS been LGBTQ people in the military. Always. How dare these ultra-right wingers declare hatred and vile remarks against revered members of the armed services whom they deem “unfit” by their radical right-wing sanctimonious definition. The military works to reflect America – ALL of America.

  • rustic

    May 14, 2023 at 7:04 am

    Rona DeSatan does better at covering up murders at Gitmo. I wish he would go back in the Navy and serve as cannon fodder.

  • Michael K

    May 14, 2023 at 9:48 am

    Toxic masculinity is not strength. Though it may woo a small number radical right wing fundamentalists – it’s not a winning general election strategy. Coupled with his control of women and hatred of LGBTQ people, he’s on a downward spiral.

    Name one thing that DeSantis has done – or attempted to do – to build unity?

  • Ewe

    May 14, 2023 at 10:56 am

    Desantis is grotesque.

  • Alan J Rasco

    May 14, 2023 at 11:06 pm

    When Go-Got Boots Desantis comes out of the closet will it really surprise anyone? Anyone obsessed with drag queens, The Little Mermaid, and Disney cartoons is obviously got a closet overflowing with skeletons.

  • WGD

    May 15, 2023 at 6:53 pm

    So I guess now that’s what Republicans are gong to blame for everything. More likely people – women and married service people – do not want to enlist because they are afraid of being stationed in a state where women don’t have access to health care.

Comments are closed.


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