After facing severe backlash for his controversial comments about LGBTQ rights and Islam, President Donald Trump’s second pick for Secretary of the Army could be withdrawing as soon as this week.
Though a final decision has yet to be made, CNN reports that Mark Green might be unlikely to proceed due to “questions whether he has enough support from either side of the aisle,” according to three sources cited by the network.
Green’s adviser’s rejected the rumours, saying that they were “completely, absolutely untrue,” according to CNN’s report, and he was preparing for his confirmation in Washington later this week.
The former Tennessee state senator and former US Army flight surgeon faced immense pressure in recent days, after his comments on religion and LGBTQ rights surfaced online. According to CNN, Green is also a self-identified creationist who lectured against the theory of evolution.
“When you start teaching [students] the pillars of Islam and you start teaching how to pray as a Muslim, that is over the top and we will not tolerate that in this state,” Green reportedly said at a Tea Party meeting.
“If you poll the psychiatrists, they’re going to tell you that transgender is a disease,” Green was also alleged to have said in September.
Taking to Facebook last week, Green rejected the criticism, claiming that the “liberal left has cut and spliced my words about terrorism and ISIS, blatantly falsifying what I’ve said,” CNN reported.
However, the damage to Green’s credibility may have already been done, as support for his nomination has waned on both sides of Congress. Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said that he wasn’t sure whether he would support Green.
“I don’t know. He’s denied some of these comments,” said Graham to CNN on Tuesday. “He’s a military officer, he’s a doctor who was involved in the raid to capture Saddam Hussein, so he has a fine military record … I want to make sure he’s the right man to lead the Army.”
Another source told CNN that Green’s political leanings were “good for the state Senate in Tennessee, not so much to follow a gay Secretary of the Army that Obama appointed.” Eric Fanning, President Barack Obama’s former Army Secretary, was the first openly gay person to serve in the role.
Green’s rumoured departure would make him the second Army secretary nominee to withdraw from the highest-ranking position in the Army. Former Army Ranger and billionaire trader Vincent Viola withdrew in February, citing conflict of interest concerns.
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