President Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of the Army, Mark Green, officially withdrew from the process Friday, making him the second to abandon the position.
“It is with deep regret today I am withdrawing my nomination to be the Secretary of the Army,” Green said in a statement obtained by NBC News.
While Green said he was honored Trump chose him for the position, he claims the distractions created by misleading media reports on his remarks about the LGBT community and Muslims would hamper his ability to carry out his duties as civilian head of the Army.
“Tragically, my life of public service and my Christian beliefs have been mischaracterized and attacked by a few on the other side of the aisle for political gain,” Green added. “While these false attacks have no bearing on the needs of the Army or my qualifications to serve, I believe it is critical to give the President the ability to move forward with his vision to restore our military to its rightful place in the world.”
One of the comments LGBT advocacy organizations point to is Green’s response to a question on social revolutions in the military. He stated that “if you poll the psychiatrists, they’re going to tell you that transgender is a disease.”
He also referred to the need to “take a stand on the indoctrination of Islam in our public schools” and said that an audience member question of what to do about possible armed insurrection by those who “don’t belong here, like Muslims in the United States” was a “great question.”
While on a radio program, Green pledged to “protect women in their bathrooms.”
These remarks have drawn heated criticism from LGBT advocacy organizations.
The American Military Partner Association released a statement shortly after news of Green’s withdrawal, saying that the Tennessee state senator “should never have even been considered for Secretary of the Army.”
Human rights organizations and Democratic members of Congress opposed Green’s nomination, while House Republicans urged GOP Sens. Mitch McConnell and John McCain to move the process forward, arguing Green’s background would “only enhance America’s warfighting capability and build on the mutual trust that exists between Soldiers and their leaders.”
Three sources told CNN Tuesday that Green could be dropping out this week, although a political adviser close to Green brushed off the allegations as totally unfounded.
Green’s withdrawal makes him the second nominee to drop out. Vincent Viola, Trump’s first pick and owner of the Florida Panthers, withdrew in February, citing difficulties in extracting himself from financial entanglements.
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