Obama Officially Nominates Chuck Hagel For Secretary Of Defense

chuck hagelPresident Obama has officially announced his intention to assign former Senator Chuck Hagel to his cabinet as Secretary of Defense. If confirmed, Hagel would be the first enlisted soldier to serve in the post.

In a statement, Senior Advisor to the President Valerie Jarrett acknowledged the controversy over Hagel’s inflammatory statements about Ambassador James Hormel’s sexuality:

Senator Hagel has been a strong supporter of the President’s approach to national security, and as Secretary of Defense, he will support and execute the President’s vision for our military. That includes continuing the President’s historic support for gay and lesbian service members, and overseeing the continued implementation of the full repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” The President is fully committed to ensuring that all of our service members and military families are treated equally. He is confident that, as Secretary of Defense, Senator Hagel will ensure that all who serve the country we love are treated equally — no matter who they love.

Recently, some in the LGBT community have expressed concerns about Senator Hagel’s past comments. In response, Senator Hagel issued a statement in which he apologized for comments that he made in the 1990s, and affirmed both his commitment to LGBT civil rights as well as his support for open service and the families of gay and lesbian service members.

One of the great successes of the LGBT civil rights movement is that it provides the space and opportunity for people to change their hearts and minds, to right past wrongs, and, over time, to evolve. The President believes Senator Hagel’s statement of apology, and his commitment to ensuring that all service members and their families are treated equally. The President would not have chosen him unless he had every confidence that, working together, they will continue to ensure that our military and DoD civilian workforce are as welcoming, inclusive, and respectful as possible.

Of course, Hagel’s possible anti-LGBT bias is only one strike against him, as conservatives question his views on defense cuts and U.S. involvement in Israel. What do you think: Should we accept that Hagel has evolved and get behind the President’s decision—or is this a time to stand our ground?

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  • krazy

    People grow and change. If President Obama feels this way, thats good enough for me. We cannot dismiss those who have changed their minds about our rights. If we do we are dismissing many allies who have recently come to support our rights.

    We must learn to forgive people who publicly change their opinions. People who are raised in conservative cultures are spoon fed anti-gay bias their entire lives. For any of these people to turn around is a miracle. We should never forget the things he said but we can forgive and that will start to heal the wounds and bring us closer together. There is no advantage to simply being angry and we should give him the benefit of the doubt.

  • Brian

    Let’s see – it took Hagel nearly 20 years to apologize for his homophobic attacks against Hormel. 20 years! Sure, I believe his change of heart – like I believe in the tooth fairy.

    Yes, people do change over time. But there is a difference between someone who has a genuine change of heart and someone who changes his opinion for reasons of political expedience. It’s important to distinguish between the two.

  • Kieran

    Let’s see —Senator Hagel is being viciously attacked by the usual crowd of bloodthirsty republican neo-conservative Warmongers, the “Israel-First” whore brigade in Congress, and log cabin republicans. When are these losers going to understand that they LOST the last two elections?

    Excellent choice Mr. President.

  • Michael

    NEWS FLASH: Hagel is NOT the central issue here—even IF he’s “evolved” and is now our best friend next to Jesus and Lassie. Those who bleat that we have to “trust” anything the President wants have either not been paying attention, or are fools. For no matter how often tireless Administration Shill Valerie Jarrett coos that “The President is fully committed to ensuring that all of our service members and military families are treated equally”—no matter how many times he claims it himself—INaction speaks louder than proverbial words. THE undisputed FACT is that he has REFUSED FOR TWO YEARS to order the Pentagon to do just that DESPITE having been urged to by HRC in January 2011, despite SLDN having REPEATEDLY done the same since February 2011. When the Commander-in-Chief didn’t order current liberal Democratic Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta to make it happen, WHY should we believe that he’ll require Hagel [again, regardless of whether or not HE’s changed] to do anything different? WHEN are our paid advocates going to SERIOUSLY put pressure on the President to FULFILL this promise?

  • Will L

    @Brian: Yes, 20 years. I’m with you. And furthermore, I have YET to actually hear him speak in our favor. I voted for Obama but I’ve lost a great deal of respect for him because of this.

  • Ronbo

    Hagel is a creepy Republican whose selection by Obama merely demonstrates that Obama is a Republican – when it comes to actual policy. (promoting gay-hating Hagel)

    Yes, Obama says nice liberal words; but, when it comes to actual policy, Obama is a core Republican. Remember DADT repeal; it was Nancy Pelosi who pushed the repeal past Obama’s objections. It was Biden who pushed Obama to come out in favor of equality.

    Please don’t fall into the trap of thinking that because Obama is half black he is half Democrat. Obama’s hero was Ronald Reagan and Obama has given Republicans just about everything they want. It’s time we think with our brains, now our heart.

  • Cagnazzo82

    @Ronbo: Out of all the Presidents of the United States, name one who’s done more for the gay community?

    Talk about ungrateful SOBs some of you people are.

    What was the last Democratic President’s record on gay rights while he was in office? Do you even want to go over it? Cause we can’t even mention the republicans.

    Keep biting the hand that feeds you.

Comments are closed.