Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee issued a statement Saturday bashing President Obama’s nomination of an openly gay man, Eric Fanning, to become the secretary of the US Army.
“It’s clear President Obama is more interested in appeasing America’s homosexuals than honouring America’s heroes,” said Huckabee.
He added that the rate of veteran suicides were “out of control” and that he thought military readiness was low, yet it is unclear how the sexual orientation of the Army’s secretary has impacted these areas.
“Obama is so obsessed with pandering to liberal interest groups he’s nominated an openly gay civilian to run the Army,” Huckabee continued, adding that “Homosexuality is not a job qualification.”
Huckabee’s statement ended in a familiar refrain of his: “The US military is designed to keep Americans safe and complete combat missions, not to conduct social experiments.”
But there is little indication that Fanning’s nomination has anything to do with his sexuality. Fanning has more than two decades of experience working on military policy. He served as chief of staff under Defence Secretary Ash Carter at the Pentagon, as well as serving as the undersecretary for the Air Force, and currently serving in that role for the Army.
Fanning’s nomination has been widely praised as a practical and inclusive. Ash Carter called Fanning an “excellent choice,” and Matt Thorn, the interim executive director of OutServe-SLDN, an advocacy group for LGBT military personnel, praised the decision as well, as noted by Reuters.
As it turns out, the nomination might not be that big of a deal to those in the military.
The Washington Post quoted Phil Carter, a veteran of the war in Iraq and a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security: “My sense is that the Army is over this and has been over it for some time. The Army cares whether you can shoot straight, not whether you are straight.”
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