PETERBOROUGH, NH—Ted Cruz blasted on Sunday the proposal to require young women register with the military’s Selective Service System and subject themselves to involuntarily serving in the military in the case of a draft.
“The idea that we would draft our daughters to forcibly bring them into the military and put them in close combat, I think, is wrong,” Cruz told a crowd –unprompted – at a campaign rally. “It is immoral. And if I am president, we ain’t doing it.”
Cruz weighed in after Saturday night’s GOP debate, where Chris Christie, Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio all expressed openness to expanding the Selective Service System to include young women.
“I have to admit as I was sitting there listening to that conversation, my reaction was: ‘Are you guys nuts?’” Cruz said to the New Hampshire audience.
Several military leaders indicated this week the potential for a change. Currently, men in the U.S. between 18 and 26 years old – with some exceptions – are required to register with the Selective Service System in case a military draft is necessary. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said it “stands to reason that [legislation] be taken up” by Congress to decide whether women should be similarly obligated.
Cruz continued, “I’m the father of two little girls. I love those girls with all of my heart. They are capable of doing anything in their heart’s desire, but the idea that their government would forcibly put them in a foxhole with a 220-pound psychopath trying to kill them doesn’t make any sense at all.”
Cruz blamed the proposal on “political correctness.”
“It’s one more sign of this politically correct world where we forget common sense,” Cruz said. “We got to get back to common sense.”
The senator doubled down in a Facebook post Monday, writing that “the idea that we would draft our daughters to forcibly bring them into the military and put them in close combat, I think, is wrong. It is immoral.”
Cruz was not asked to respond to the question during the debate, but Rubio drew a clear contrast in his stance.
“I do believe that Selective Service should be opened up for both men and women in case a draft is ever instituted,” Rubio said.
Christie responded by saying that he raised his daughters to believe self-worth “comes from within.”
“There’s no reason why one young woman should be discriminated against for registering for the Selective Service,” Christie said.
Carrie Dann contributed to this report.