Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz told voters in New Hampshire Sunday that while he believes his daughters can do anything they set their minds to, he does not want them — nor any other women — to be drafted into the military. The Texas senator said the idea of requiring women to sign up for the draft is “nuts,” CNN reported, a position that breaks with several of his Republican presidential opponents.
During the ABC presidential debate Saturday, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie all said they would support the idea of women being required to register with the Selective Service.
“It was striking that three different people on that stage came out in support of drafting women into combat in the military,” Cruz said Sunday. “I have to admit, as I was sitting there listening to that conversation, my reaction was: Are you guys nuts?”
Cruz criticized his rivals, calling the idea a product of political correctness and arguing that it would have a bad effect on women.
“We have had enough with political correctness — especially in the military,” the presidential candidate said. “Political correctness is dangerous, and the idea that we would draft our daughters, to forcibly bring them into the military and put them in close contact, I think is wrong, it is immoral, and if I am president, we ain't doing it.”
The discussion on including women in a potential military draft comes after the Pentagon decided in December to open all combat positions to women without exception. And it’s not only hypothetical — two Republican lawmakers introduced legislation last week that would require women to register for the draft, the Wall Street Journal reported.
When questioned on the topic during Saturday’s debate, Christie referenced his daughters and spoke particularly strongly about wanting women to have the same opportunities as men in the military. “What my wife and I have taught our daughters right from the beginning — that their sense of self-worth, their sense of value, their sense of what they want to do with their life comes not from the outside but from within,” he said Saturday.
“And if a young woman in this country wants to go and fight to defend her country, she would be permitted to do so,” Christie added. “There’s no reason why one young woman should be discriminated against from registering for the Selective Service.”
Cruz also mentioned his daughters Sunday while talking to the crowd in Peterborough, New Hampshire. But unlike Christie, he expressed fear over what they would face if they were forced into combat positions.
“I'm the father of two little girls. I love those girls with all my heart. They are capable of doing anything in their hearts' desire,” Cruz said, according to CNN. “But the idea that their government would forcibly put them in the foxhole with a 220-pound psychopath trying to kill them doesn't make any sense at all.”