Senator John McCain says he will challenge the anti-LGBT record of Donald Trump’s nominee for Army Secretary, Mark Green.
Donald Trump is this month attempting to replace Obama’s openly gay nominee Eric Fanning with an anti-gay Tennessee Republican lawmaker, Mark Green.
A number of disturbing allegations have come to light about Mr Green. He is on-the-record claiming that being transgender is a “disease”, while in an unearthed radio clip he rants about trans people before vowing to “crush” evil.
His comments are combined with a long record as a strong opponent of LGBT equality. Mr Green was the author of a Tennessee bill that would grant businesses unlimited rights to discriminate without any action from state agencies, invalidating any non-discrimination protections.
Mr Green has also described civil rights protections for LGBT people as an example of “tyrannical government”, and encouraged Tennessee to defy the US Supreme Court and deny gay couples the right to marry.
The nomination today sparked concern from Republican Senator John McCain.
John McCain, who ran for President himself in 2008, is deeply respected across party lines on military issues, as a veteran and former prisoner of war.
The politician, who is chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told USA Today he was “concerned” about Mr Green’s record.
He said: “There’s a lot of controversy concerning his nomination.
“We are getting some questions from both Republicans and Democrats on the Armed Services Committee. I think there are some issues that clearly need to be cleared up.”
“Some of the comments that have been attributed to him obviously are very concerning.”
He added the troubling comments were “a broad variety — concerning the Muslim faith, concerning the LGBT community, other issues according to the comments he has made in the past.”
The lawmaker confirmed he would push Green on his comments, saying: “When his nomination is [formally] submitted, we will give him an opportunity to respond to these questions that have been raised.”
Senator McCain is considered a moderate under today’s rapidly-shifting GOP political landscape.
He is now softer than most Republicans on LGBT rights, and won praise in 2016 when he helped block his colleagues from using defence legislation as a proxy to pare back Obama’s LGBT rights protections.
The Senator also vowed to defend LGBT people after the Orlando massacre, saying: “To all those visited by fear in the aftermath of this attack, including the citizens of Orlando and the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community across the nation, I can only say we must not and will not give in to fear.
“We must resist and defeat this evil – together.”
Senator McCain’s rapidly shifting stances on LGBT issues have come at a surprise to many, given his personal and strong opposition to repealing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ in the past.
His daughter Meghan McCain is an LGBT rights advocate who sits on the board of rights charity GLAAD.