WASHINGTON ― Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) became the first member of the Armed Services Committee to oppose President Donald Trump’s nominee for Army secretary Wednesday, saying Tennessee state Sen. Mark Green’s (R) comments about LGBTQ people and others disqualify him for the position.
“The diversity of our military force is its greatest strength,” she wrote in a Facebook post. “The Secretary of the Army must show genuine support for our men and women serving in uniform ― all of them. In a dangerous world, we can’t afford to alienate or demean anyone who meets our standards and wants to serve our country. There is no place for bigotry in the United States Army, and Dr. Green’s comments disqualify him from leadership.”
Green must clear the Senate Armed Services Committee to be confirmed. The White House has not yet formally submitted Green’s nomination to the committee, so his hearings haven’t been scheduled.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) also announced his opposition to Green in a statement Wednesday afternoon:
While I deeply appreciate and applaud his record of service to this nation, I feel that Mr. Green’s intolerant, extreme and deeply disturbing views, and disparaging comments toward the LGBTQ community, Muslims, Latinos and other groups of Americans – all of whom play important roles in the Army and in our country – are dangerous to morale, cohesion and readiness of our Armed Services and the fabric of America. A man who was the lead sponsor of legislation to make it easier for businesses to discriminate against the LGBTQ community; opposes gay marriage, which is the law of the land; believes being transgender is a ‘disease;’ supports constricting access to legal contraception; and makes deeply troubling comments about Muslims is the wrong choice to lead America’s Army.
I will oppose Mr. Green’s nomination and urge all my colleagues – Republicans and Democrats alike – in the Senate to do so as well. If President Trump is serious about his pledge to be a president for all Americans, he should abandon consideration of Mr. Green for this position and nominate someone who can faithfully lead and represent all members of the United States Army.
As HuffPost first reported, Green has a history of opposing equal rights for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community.
The Tennessee state senator recently sponsored legislation that would bar local governments from considering companies’ internal policies (such as whether they discriminate based on gender identity or sexual orientation) when doing business or giving out contracts. He has said he believes being transgender is a disease and stated that part of the reason he opposes allowing transgender people to use the restroom corresponding to their gender identity is because he has a mission to “crush evil.”
Green has also made Islamophobic remarks, saying he does not believe schools should teach about the Muslim faith, and he speculated to a tea party group that a rise in Latinos registering to vote in the area was due to them “being bussed here probably.”
A growing number of organizations and individuals are opposing Green, and there are rumors that he may withdraw himself from consideration. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the committee chairman, said many of Green’s comments are “very concerning.” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) has also said she has “serious concerns” about Green, particularly around his “deeply troubling record of supporting policies that are discriminatory against the LGBTQ community.”
“Mark Green’s radical views and vicious attacks on LGBTQ people and other minorities disqualify him from leading the U.S. Army,” said Stephen Peters, a Marine Corps veteran and spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign. “With LGBTQ soldiers and their families proudly serving our nation, the Army is moving towards the highest standards of equal opportunity. Confirming Mark Green as Secretary of the Army would undoubtedly threaten that important progress.”
If confirmed, Green would oversee a force that’s been fully integrated since June, when the Pentagon ended its ban on openly trans service members. He would stand in significant contrast to the previous Army secretary, Eric Fanning, who was the first openly gay person to serve in the position.
This piece has been updated with Schumer’s comments.
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