Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) has withdrawn an attempt to weaken "Don't Ask Don't Tell" under "pressure" from the White House, he said Wednesday.
Hastings' amendment would have added language to a defense appropriations bill that prohibited "spending money to investigate or discharge members of the military who reveal they are homosexual or bisexual."
Hastings told the Palm Beach Post that those urging him to drop his amendment "didn't want to tie the politics of this in with the appropriations process." He wouldn't name names, saying only that "I didn't talk to Barack Obama."
On MSNBC's "Rachel Maddow Show" Wednesday night, Hastings pushed back:
"I have a different political calculus. If something is bigoted and if your intent is to see to it that it does not continue, then I did not understand the leadership of Congress or the White House in saying that the time is not right. My position is the president has said he wishes that this matter be repealed. My colleague Patrick Murphy [D-Pa.] now has more than 170 co-sponsors on a measure to repeal it. Secretary [of Defense Robert] Gates has said, I'm glad he is now saying, 'when we change our policy.' Last year he would have been saying 'if,' but my view is that the time is now to eliminate this bigoted law once and for all."
Asked if he had been informed of a White House-endorsed strategy for ending "Don't Ask Don't Tell," Hastings replied, "I have not heard anything other than the rhetoric."
Watch (via Think Progress):