Trump’s Defence Secretary refuses to say if he supports gays in the military
Donald Trump’s nominee for Defence Secretary has thrice refused to say whether he supports gay people serving in the military during his confirmation session.
General James ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis, former Commander of United States Central Command, was nominated by the Republican to lead the Department of Defence.
In a book published last year, the General warned about a “progressive agenda” imposing “social change” on the military following the 2010 repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.
General Mattis claimed the public had not considered “risk to our forces” as part of “recent policy debates such as allowing homosexuals to serve openly”. He claimed that “an uninformed public is permitting political leaders to impose an accretion of social conventions that are diminishing the combat power of our military.”
During his confirmation hearing today, General Mattis evaded three separate questions about LGBT people serving openly in the military.
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand raised his past comments, adding: “Do you believe that openly serving homosexuals, along with women in combat units, is undermining our force?”
He insisted: “My belief is we have to stay focused on a military that’s so lethal that on the battlefield it will be the enemy’s longest day and their worst day when they run into that force.
“I believe military service is a touchstone for patriots of whatever stripe. It’s the way they demonstrate their commitment. I believe the policies that are now in effect, unless a service chief brings something to me where there’s a problem, then I’m not going in with an idea that I’m going to review these right away or start rolling something back.”
Pushed on whether he believes LGBT people are undermining military readiness, he responded: “Frankly I’ve never cared much about two consenting adults and who they go to bed with.”
Prompted to answer the question, he said: “My concern is on the readiness on the force to fight and to make certain it’s at the top of its game… that’s my obligation as I look as this job.”
Asked “I’m looking for military readiness,” he said, adding that he has “no plan to oppose women.” Noting additional comments he had made about gay and lesbians in the military, Gillibrand then asked, “ Do you believe that openly serving homosexuals, along with women in combat units, is undermining our force?”
President-elect Trump was previously caught pandering to a soldier who complained about “social engineering” allowing transgender people to serve in the military.
Trump assured him: “We’re going to get away from political correctness – we’re going to have to do that.”