A retired rear admiral with the U.S. Maritime Administration gave what Rep. Brian Babin, R-Texas, described as an “insufficient” answer to his question about a U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) official’s controversial tweet about White males.
During a hearing Thursday before the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure about the shortage of U.S. mariners, Babin grilled Rear Adm. Ann Phillips (ret.) about a June 2020 tweet from Anton Tripolskii, who was hired at the Kings Point, New York, academy last year as its $142,595-per-year sexual assault response director.
“We don’t have forces who do right by survivors of intimate partner and sexual violence because we don’t have forces who don’t abuse Brown and Black people,” Tripolskii wrote in the tweet. “Same forces, same reasons. Misogyny and racism grow from the same white, male root.”
Tripolskii also retweeted a user in October 2020 who suggested that “White men with a history of domestic and sexual violence” are more inclined to become “radicalized terrorists.”
Tripolskii’s Twitter activity prompted a scathing letter from four members of the U.S. House’s Anti-Woke Caucus to USMMA Superintendent Vice Adm. Joanna Nunan earlier this week.
“He has made it clear that he believes that White males – the same White males that make up the majority of the U.S. Merchant Marine – are to blame for sexual violence in the United States,” said Babin, who was one of the members of Congress who signed the letter to Nunan. “In fact, Mr. Tripolskii, who is White and male, has made these kinds of comments repeatedly.”
Noting how the USMMA should have been aware of his Twitter activity before hiring him, Babin asked Phillips if she agrees with Tripolskii that misogyny and racism “grow from the same white, male root.”
Phillips acknowledged the USMMA’s receipt of the letter from the Anti-Woke Caucus, but she noted that Tripolskii’s tweet was “several years old” and that she and Nunan “are looking towards the future” by “building an environment of value that includes inclusiveness” and values people’s participation based on their professionalism and skill.
Babin cut in to say he did not understand her answer and reiterated his question by asking if Phillips believes Tripolskii’s statement about White males is true.
“Well, sir, his statements were made a number of years ago, and I have no indication that they apply to his current position,” Phillips said. “And again, I have spoken with Vice Adm. Nunan, we are moving forward with a future and collective future for the academy that values everyone, including White men, for their professionalism and skill and ensures that we have a team to move forward.”
“I understand what you’re saying, and you’re kind of dodging,” Babin said, going on to express concern about worsening recruitment shortfalls “throughout the services” and at the USMMA especially.
“The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy needs experienced leaders training our merchant mariners, not some social justice warrior who’s laser-focused on DEI ideology, expanding abortion or accusing individuals of inherent racism based purely on their skin color – which is illegal, by the way, since 1965,” Babin said, adding that he found Phillips’ answer “insufficient.”
The controversy over Tripolskii’s views comes months after midshipmen currently enrolled at the USMMA told Fox News Digital on condition of anonymity that the academy under the authority of Nunan and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has become increasingly “woke.”