Democratic congressman Adam Smith (Wash.) on Wednesday scolded a Republican colleague for referring to time worked by military members as "man-hours," saying the Republican should have instead used the gender-neutral construction "person-hours."
Smith, the ranking member on the House Armed Services Committee, reprimanded Rep. Jim Banks (R., Ind.) for questioning why the U.S. military has wasted more than six million "man-hours" on training soldiers with various Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) programs, which critics such as Banks say promote woke cultural ideologies.
"That would be 'person-hours,' not necessarily 'man-hours,'" Smith said in response to Banks's comment, eliciting laughter from some in attendance at the committee hearing. "We do have women serving in the military."
Banks later mocked Smith on Twitter, suggesting that the Democrat is lost within his party's obsession with woke identity politics.
"At the NDAA markup, I asked how different the Afghanistan withdrawal could have gone if we didn't waste nearly six million man-hours on DEI training," Banks wrote. "The lead Democrat's response? I should have said 'person-hours.' You can't make this up!"
Smith also claimed during the committee hearing that the military's DEI training—which includes when to offer soldiers sex-change operations and how to use proper pronouns—is a necessity for America's war force.
Banks's word choice "oddly kind of drives home the point of why it might be worth it to think about a world that isn't just your own world, that there are other worlds out there and other thoughts and that racism and bigotry are actually things that exist, that are worth thinking about," Smith said. "Even if you don't completely agree with the way somebody is talking about it, having the discussion, I think, will make the men and women who serve in our military better."