The 2016 hopeful reportedly made the comments during a campaign stop at a restaurant in Sac City, Iowa, saying the planned change is evidence the military has shifted away from its core mission.
“How about having the military focusing on hunting down and killing the bad guys…instead of treating it as this crucible for social justice innovations,” Cruz is quoted as saying. “We’ve lost sight of what their job is and that’s what we need to get back to.”
According to the report, Cruz was asked at the restaurant about “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the now lifted ban on openly gay military service. The questioner reportedly noted the policy changed under the Obama administration and wondered what would happen if Cruz were elected president.
Cruz is quoted as saying he would “listen to the expert judgment of the generals and admirals” on the current situation, adding military policy should be consistent with “good order and discipline,” not social issues.
“We should’t view the military as a cauldron for social experiments,” Cruz reportedly added.
The Pentagon announced in June it’s conducting a review on allowing in the military openly transgender people, who are currently prohibited from serving by medical regulation. The U.S. military is expected to end its ban in May.
By opposing transgender military service, Cruz joins fellow Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee on the issue. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has said he’s “fine” with the change as long as good order and discipline are maintained.
Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernard Sanders have expressed for openly transgender service as has Vice President Joseph Biden.