Donald Trump’s choice to serve as Army Secretary, Mark Green, withdrew his nomination today, May 5, after vigorous protests from a variety of advocacy groups went viral. The Tennessee legislator, who has a long record of animus toward LGBT people, would have replaced the first openly gay Secretary, Eric Fanning.
While a Tennessee state Senator (R-Clarksville), Green, a physician who served in Afghanistan and Iraq, had often referred to transgender people as “diseased.” He also encouraged Tennessee to follow the lead of Alabama’s Roy Moore and refuse to follow the Supreme Court of the United State’s ruling on marriage equality. He spearheaded an effort that would have prevented Tennessee municipalities from terminating contracts with companies that do not offer employee protections for LGBT workers. While that effort failed, he insisted the effort was not antigay but intended to prevent a “patchwork” of laws across the state. During the debate, however, he claimed he was trying to prevent discrimination against companies that do not protect LGBT employees.
Prior to his nomination, Green was considering a run for Governor.
In announcing Green’s nomination, Defense Secretary James Mattis issued a statement saying he was confident Green would “provide strong civilian leadership, improve military readiness and support our service members, civilians, and their families.” The White House highlighted his service record.
The American Military Partner Association (AMPA), an LGBT advocacy group, issued a statement immediately following his nomination, saying it was “deeply concerned” about Green’s nomination.
“Green has made a shameful political career out of targeting LGBT people for discrimination. Based on his vicious, anti-LGBT record, Mark Green cannot be trusted to ensure all those who serve have the support they need and deserve,” the statement read.
In a statement released after his withdrawal, AMPA President Ashley Broadway Mack said “Mark Green should never have even been considered for Secretary of the Army. His vicious attacks on LGBT people should have been disqualifying from the very beginning. It took an overwhelming chorus of voices speaking out in outrage over the nomination, but we are pleased that in the end, what is best for our military families has prevailed. The U.S. Army needs leadership that will ensure all of our service members and their families have the support they need and deserve, and Mark Green was clearly not that leader.”
The Human Rights Campaign said his withdrawal was a victory for the LGBTQ community and called Green’s “shameful anti-LGBTQ record and rhetoric,” a danger to LGBTQ service members and their families.
“Mark Green’s dangerous views and hateful comments are disqualifying for any public servant, let alone someone wishing to serve as secretary of the Army. His nomination was a clear indication of Donald Trump’s lack of judgement and failure to be a president for all Americans,” said Chad Griffin, President of HRC. “We thank the many Senators, from both parties, who expressed concerns about this nomination. HRC’s millions of members and supporters stood strong against Donald Trump’s nomination of Green, and we will continue to fight back against any appointment or policy made by this president that puts our community at risk.”
The Trump administration has not commented as of this writing. Green’s supporters say he was targeted for his faith.