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Critics of Army Secretary Pick's Comments on LGBT, Islam Want Nomination Withdrawn

Tennessee state Sen. Mark Green (R) sits at his desk in the Senate chamber in Nashville on April 17, 2013. (AP Photo/Erik Schelzig)

Democrats, Muslims and LGBTQ activists launched a campaign to #stopMarkGreen as soon as President Trump announced the Republican Tennessee state senator and physician was the White House’s choice to be secretary of the Army.

House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (Md.) wants Trump to withdraw Green’s nomination.

“Appointing someone with a clear record of homophobia and transphobia, who has made disgusting statements demeaning toward groups of Americans, would send the absolute wrong signal about the values for which our military service members are risking their lives,” Hoyer said in a statement following Green’s nomination.

Ashley Broadway-Mack, president of the American Military Partner Association, a group that lobbies for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) military spouses and their families, said Green, during his time in the Tennessee Legislature, had “made a shameful political career out of targeting LGBT people for discrimination.”

On a 2016 Blog Talk Radio show, Green said, his biblical responsibility as a lawmaker was “to create an environment where people who do right are rewarded and the people who do wrong are crushed – evil is crushed.”

That meant opposing transgender bathroom access and Syrian refugees, he added.

“The liberal left has cut and spliced my words about terrorism and ISIS blatantly falsifying what I’ve said,” Green wrote on his Facebook page to counter mounting criticism by accusing those opposed to his nomination.

Green wrote on his Facebook page that Hoyer and the AMPA have it all wrong.

“I believe that every American has a right to defend their country regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, and religion,” Green wrote. “It’s the radical left that won’t allow the latter.”

Scott Simpson, public advocacy director for Muslim Advocates, said he agreed with the assertion that Green has a “deplorable record of stereotyping…the LGBT community.”

The Council on American-Islamic Relations released a video of Green speaking to a Tea Party meeting in 2006, telling audience members he would not “tolerate” public school students learning about Islam in their classrooms.

Green also responded to a man who said he was worried about an armed insurrection led by Muslims by saying that was “a great question.”

“Mark Green’s naked bigotry disqualifies him for the job of Army Secretary,” Simpson said. “This is not a man equipped to lead a 21st century army that looks like America.”

Green wrote on his Facebook page that CAIR and the Muslim Advocates group are as wrong about him as LGBTQ advocates.

“The only people I have ever called evil are murderous terrorists trying to kill Americans,” Green wrote. “The only people I have ever suggested be crushed are the terrorist enemies of our nation. I have never considered myself a judge of anyone, but I have been a protector of everyone in this nation.”

So who supports the Green nomination?

The White House apparently likes the Tennessee Republican, but Green was not Trump’s first choice. Billionaire investor Vincent Viola withdrew from consideration for Army secretary because of problems untying himself from all of his business interests.

Green has a military track record. He served as a rifle platoon leader, scout platoon leader, battalion personnel officer, a supply officer, and an airborne rifle company commander in the famed 82nd Airborne Division.

A 1986 West Point graduate, he did three combat tours in the Middle East and served as a special operations flight surgeon during Operation Red Dawn in 2003 in Iraq. Green was in Iraq for the capture of Saddam Hussein and was actually the first person to interrogate Hussein.

His military awards include the Bronze Star and the Air Medal, according to the White House announcement of his nomination.

“Mark will provide strong civilian leadership, improve military readiness and support our service members, civilians, and their families,” Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said in a statement. “I am confident of Mark’s ability to effectively lead the Army.”

He has a record of military service, has seen combat and understands politics, at least on a state level. If he hadn’t been nominated to serve as secretary of the Army, Green might be running for governor of Tennessee.

But Democrats, LGBTQ activists and Muslim leaders are vehemently opposed to Green’s nomination. They will have their say during Green’s confirmation hearing.

No matter what kind of incoming fire he will face before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Green believes there is at least one man in America who understands his dilemma.

On his Facebook page, Green pointed to a blog post written by Jonathan C. Dowty on christianfighter.com that claimed the opposition stemmed from the fact that Green is an unapologetic Christian.

“It would seem that this gentleman (Dowty) has figured out why certain people are cutting and splicing my words to paint me as a hater,” Green wrote. “It will not stand.”