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Air Force base walks back statement encouraging soldiers not to attend a conservative rally

"The message was based on incorrect data and sent outside of official base messaging platforms," the base wrote in an updated statement.

Published: November 25, 2023 2:17pm

An Air Force base in North Dakota recently walked back its statement that discouraged soldiers from going to a conservative rally titled "Dakota Patriot Rally." 

In a message sent out last week, leaders at Minot Air Force Base were told to "exercise caution if downtown this weekend" due to a conservative rally occurring that would feature a speaker from Turning Point USA, which was labeled as "alt-right."

"Please advise your folks that if they are going to be downtown this weekend, it's good to be cautious, as the crowds this event may attract could be confrontational to military members," the message stated. "Additionally please remind them that participation with groups such as Turning Point Action could jeopardize their continued service in the U.S. military."

After backlash from members of Congress and Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk, the base walked back the statement. 

"The message was based on incorrect data and sent outside of official base messaging platforms," the base wrote in an updated statement, according to The Epoch Times. "Once the error was identified, base security officials corrected the message traffic to categorize the event as a local political fundraiser, with no security concerns."

"Further, the updated message communicated there were no issues with military members participating in their personal capacity—in line with their First Amendment rights. All Air Force Airmen have a Constitutional right to freedom of assembly," the statement concluded. 

Senator Kevin Cramer, R-ND, criticized the Air Force base and said that left-wing political messaging is way too common in the U.S. military and that the military needs to focus on its mission. 

"We need them to get focused on that and get off of the DEI woke nonsense that’s infiltrated our military, and now infiltrated North Dakota. Let’s get to the mission," Cramer said in a press release.