Donald Trump Jr. claimed the U.S. military "spent 6 million man-hours with our troops about wokeness" -- but, of course, that allegation fell apart under closer examination.
The former president's son riled up the crowd with his claim over the weekend at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, and the eye-popping number he cited appears to have come from a letter sent by Army Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to Sen. James Inhofe, reported Washington Post fact checker Glenn Kessler.
Inhofe, the top-ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, had asked Milley how much time the military spent on rooting out extremists, a climate change plan, and a new training program on diversity and inclusion -- all of which had been required by the Department of Defense.
Most of that time, nearly 5.4 million hours, was spent on the stand-down ordered after the Jan. 6 insurrection and involved nearly 2.5 million service members, which breaks down to about two hours per person, which Milley said was comparable to nearly all other periodic training requirements.
The climate change plan, at 1,059 hours, and diversity training, at 529,711 hours, brought the total man-hours up to 5.9 million hours, and Defense Department officials rejected Inhofe's characterization of the work as a “leftist social agenda."
“I would say, and this is reflected in the material, that the stand-down was principally designed to reinforce for everyone the very meaning of the oath they take to the Constitution — and what that oath portends for the behavior expected of us: the dignity and respect we owe each other and the greater loyalty we owe to America’s system of government,” said Pentagon press secretary John Kirby.
Trump Jr. failed to note the extremism training that made up the bulk of the requirements came in response to his father's supporters violently storming the U.S. Capitol in an effort to overturn the 2020 election, and the Post fact checker said his claim, while rooted in fact, twisted the truth beyond recognition.
"We cannot quite get to Four Pinocchios because the 6 million figure is based on a real estimate," Kessler wrote. "But there is no evidence that this relatively minor course detracted from any military training — and Trump Jr. entirely mischaracterizes what the training was for."