USA Today has been slammed by conservative political commentator Candice Owens for the outlet's decision to include Pennsylvania's former Health Secretary Rachel Levine among the nominees for 2022 Woman of the Year Award. Levine, a trans woman, now serves as Assistant Secretary of Health in the Biden Administration.
This also makes her the highest-ranking openly transgender government official in the United States. Levine also used her spotlight as an opportunity to support women and girls of all backgrounds and identities. USA Today made the announcement of Levine's nomination on Sunday. Since then, many have slammed the outlet including Owens for showing biasness.
USA Today Under Fire
USA Today has come under severe criticism after it named Lavine as one of the nominees for its 2022 Women of the Year award. This included Owens who openly blasted Levine's nomination.
"What's a woman? I'm confused. I don't know what a woman is anymore. It is funny and pointedly ridiculous. It gets back to what I always say about progressives which is that they're always so progressive that they actually just regressive, right?" Owens slammed USA Today's decision on Tucker Carlson's show on Fox News on Tuesday night.
"It's the same with feminism," Owens added. "With early feminism, we were trying to create a space for women that was separate from men. We wanted women sports and for them to compete differently."
"We have women that train all the way from the time that they're kids up through college to try to compete against other women. Now you can throw on a wig and say 'Actually, I am a woman too' and you can crush all of their records because it is so progressive it is actually regressive!''
Owens was referring to University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas, who has been criticized for participating in the women's category and winning medals. Thomas has also set numerous national records over the past few months after changing from male to female.
Levine on the other hand has shown her support to Thomas openly.
Question of Ethics
Levine made history on last October after being sworn in as an admiral in the PHSCC by Surgeon General Vivek Murthy. Levine, in her new role, leads a team of more than 6,000 officers who respond to public health crises and natural disasters.
USA Today announced the nominations on Sunday saying, "Rachel Levine is one of USA Today's Women of the Year, a recognition of women across the country who have made a significant impact."
Vice President Kamala Harris and Melinda Gates, the former wife of Microsoft founder Bill Gates, were among the other nominees. Owens, on the other hand, was irritated by Levine's inclusion as a transsexual person.
"We are actually erasing women and sadly, it was a feminist that got behind this early on and didn't have the courage to say 'no, that's a man we are looking at!' and feminists should be fighting this tooth and nail."
"Where is Hillary Clinton? I don't want her perspective on Russia and Ukraine but I do want her perspective on this category. The person who ran 'on oh, my gosh, women are so oppressed and I'm a woman and vote for me because I am a woman.' She seems suspiciously quiet on this topic and doesn't want to touch this topic about men taking the spots of women. So it is ridiculous," Owens said.
Levine is a graduate of Harvard College and Tulane University School of Medicine and previously worked as a pediatrician. She served as Pennsylvania's health secretary, highlighting several public health issues across the commonwealth: the opioid epidemic, maternal health and immunization rates among children.
According to her Wikipedia page, Levine has two children. She transitioned in 2011. Levine and her ex-wife, Martha Peaslee Levine, married in 1988, during Levine's last year of medical school, and divorced in 2013. She has served as a board member of Equality Pennsylvania, an LGBT rights organization.