TOKEN GESTURE

Hagel: Sorry About Insulting Gays. Can I Be Defense Secretary Now?

chuck hagelAs his name moves up the list for secretary of defense, former Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel issued an apology today for homophobic remarks he made in a 1998 newspaper interview.

At the time, Hagel was attacking the nomination of James Hormel as be ambassador to Luxembourg, because Hormel was “aggressively gay.”

“[Diplomats] are representing America,” Hagel told The Omaha World-Herald at the time. “They are representing our lifestyle, our values, our standards. And I think it is an inhibiting factor to be gay — openly, aggressively gay like Mr. Hormel — to do an effective job.”

Now, nearly 20 years later, as the job of a lifetime is dangling before him, Hagel suddenly realized he was a jerk: “My comments 14 years ago in 1998 were insensitive,” Hagel, co-chair of the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board, said in a statement. “They do not reflect my views or the totality of my public record, and I apologize to Ambassador Hormel and any LGBT Americans who may question my commitment to their civil rights.”

They don’t reflect your views? Homophobia aside, do we want a guy who admits his comments don’t reflect his opinions in a high-powered cabinet post? Isn’t that aggressively stupid?