A candid conversation with Rep. Mike Waltz, Congress’s only combat-decorated Green Beret
by Jamie McIntyre, Senior Writer |
| April 29, 2021 11:00 PM
The first-term Florida Republican discusses his battles both in combat and at the Pentagon, his fight against wokeness at West Point, and his worries about Afghanistan.
To say that Florida Rep. Mike Waltz has a unique perspective on national security is to run the risk of serious understatement. The first-term Republican, whose district on Florida’s east coast includes Daytona Beach and Palm Coast, is the first combat-decorated Green Beret elected to Congress. Over the course of a 24-year career, which included stints at the highest echelons at the Pentagon and the White House, Waltz was awarded four Bronze Stars, two with valor.
Waltz spoke recently to Washington Examiner senior writer Jamie McIntyre, who began the interview asking Waltz how his experience as both a warrior and a policy adviser has informed his view as a lawmaker:
Washington Examiner: Tell us about your background as a soldier for 24 years, how it led to a run for Congress, and how it’s informed your views as a lawmaker.
Mike Waltz: I had this fascinating back and forth that I think only a reserve component, Special Forces officer can have. My day job was in the Pentagon under [Defense Secretaries Donald] Rumsfeld and [Robert] Gates on Afghan policy, then, eventually, for Vice President [Dick] Cheney as his counterterrorism adviser. But in between, I would get mobilized and have to actually go do the strategy and policy that I had advocated for in Washington. The really interesting part would be coming back from the combat zone, taking off the uniform, getting back in a suit and tie, and going, "Hey, boss, I was in the room when you said, 'Go this direction.' Well, I just spent a year out on the ground, and we're not doing exactly that." I did that, back and forth, three times. Seeing that — the global war on terror from the White House, from the Pentagon, from multiple tours out on the ground — was really fascinating and illuminating. It made me fully appreciate that we are in a generational fight against Islamic extremism. Just as we have fought for generations against communism, we fought for generations against fascism. This is truly a war of ideas and ideology. I saw that from every level.https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/policy/defense-national-security/a-candid-conversation-with-rep-mike-waltz-congresss-only-combat-decorated-green-beret