Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota – An unofficial statement warning airmen not to attend a conservative political event went viral on social media, prompting the Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota to defend itself against accusations of political intolerance.
The Dakota Patriot Rally, which took place in Minot on Friday and featured the pro-Trump organization Turning Point Action, is the subject of discussion. Charlie Kirk, a white conservative agitator who has gained popularity by stoking racial tensions, founded the group. For example, he has called George Floyd a “scumbag.”
A message that was re-posted to a public Facebook page and was purported to be from base leadership described the group as an “alt-right organization.” It said that “participation with groups such as Turning Point Action could jeopardize their continued service in the U.S. military.”
The statement was immediately met with criticism, including Republican U.S. Sen. Kevin Cramer and Kirk.
In response, the base stated on Tuesday that the first message was posted “outside of official base messaging platforms and was based on incorrect data.” It added that it later changed the message traffic to identify the gathering as a local political fundraiser and emphasized that military personnel were welcome to attend as long as they followed the rules, which included donning their uniforms.
“All Air Force Airmen have a Constitutional right to freedom of assembly,” the post said.
But Cramer said Tuesday that a “greater apology is needed.” He said he spoke with Gen. David Allvin, chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force, about what he described as a “biased and misguided official communication.”
Within an hour, the base released an internal correction, according to what he stated Allvin said. Then why, Cramer questioned, would the base wait days to post a statement on its official Facebook page and website?
“It’s disgusting to me that anybody in our Air Force today would consider a Turning Point USA event anything other than a pro-American, patriotic, and frankly, pro-military group,” Cramer said.
Kirk said on X, formerly Twitter, that the Department of Defense has “declared WAR on conservatives” and called on Congress to “immediately investigate this absurd, unhinged threat.”
Conservatives had already taken umbrage at the Department of Defense. New Pentagon regulations that permit travel reimbursement when a service member has travel outside of their home state to obtain an abortion or other reproductive care are one hot-button issue. Sen. Tommy Tuberville, a Republican, blocked hundreds of military nominees as a result of the policy.