Texas senator and Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz apparently knows a soft insult none of us here at Food Republic have ever heard before: Plush-bottomed. During a speech yesterday aboard the USS Yorktown in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, Cruz attested that if he were president, his military strategy would return the United States to a position of global strength — and, in doing so, took a cheap shot at some of our brave men and women in uniform.
“[T]he last thing any commander should need to worry about is the grades he is getting from some plush-bottomed Pentagon bureaucrat for political correctness or social experiments, or providing gluten-free MREs,” said Cruz, referring to the military acronym for “Meals Ready to Eat.”
That’s right: Senator Cruz, who has not served in the military, would choose to deprive U.S. troops with wheat allergies of the only carbs that would actually fuel them in an austere environment with no other option.
An Army captain recently back from Afghanistan told us why Cruz’s ignorance about food allergies is bad military policy. “Ted Cruz telling people the Army isn’t going to make the best possible MRE that can cater to the widest array of people is disrespectful to troops,” he said over email, preferring to remain anonymous. “Mr. Cruz doesn’t seem to understand the concept of readiness. Maximizing the health of our troops is an important part of our strategy, and gives us an edge on the battlefield. Saying we shouldn’t take gluten sensitivity and other allergies into account demonstrates a lack of respect for our armed forces, as well as a lack of understanding when it comes to what gives our troops every advantage possible.”
Now back to this “plush-bottomed” business. What does this Downton Abbey–esque put-down even mean? Don’t type it into Google — that is not a good way to find out. However, one can surmise Cruz intended it to mean “lily-livered.”
Added the captain, “Not letting someone who’s perfectly suited for a Ranger battalion or Special Forces team on because they can’t digest gluten is an absurd waste of talent. I’m pretty sure the whole point is to have the widest population of talent to draw from, so we always get the best.”