When Joe Solmonese Told You DADT Would Be Repealed in 2010, Did He Knowingly Lie?


In February, just after the president gave his State of the Union speech, White House advisers including Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina met with members of Gay Inc. to inform them the Obama administration would not be pushing for a Don’t Ask Don’t Tell repeal in 2010, not even as an addition to the Pentagon’s budget bill. Later that month, at the Human Rights Campaign’s Carolinas fundraising gala, Joe Solmonese promised donors, “This year we are going to bring down the discriminatory policy known as DADT.” At the time, we called it a “stupid thing to say.” We didn’t realize it was a blatant lie pushed forth by Mr. Solmonese.

David Smith, HRC’s policy and strategy chief, and the man who is truly behind much of HRC’s plotting, insists the White House advisers did not, in fact, guarantee 2010 was off the table. (He was at the meeting.) Update: Lobbyist (necessary disclaimer) Robert Raben also insists Messina didn’t say anything concrete.

They were “noncommittal,” he says. And even with that “noncommittal” stance, evidently HRC felt comfortable promising LGBT Americans that all their donations were finally going to pay off before Christmas.

You know what’s noncommital? The Human Rights Campaign. After Press Sec. Robert Gibbs said today, in the boldest of White House pronouncements yet, that Obama would not push for repeal this year, this is Mr. Smith’s response: “Those comments were not helpful and the White House needs to clarify that.” Or what? Or what, Smith? Or what, Solmonese? What will you do if they don’t clarify it? If they continue playing hot potato with our freedoms? Issue another press release asking for more money, that’s what.

The question that remains, then, is whether the Senate — whose Armed Services Committee has 12 or 13 firms votes in favor of repeal, according to SLDN’s Aubrey Sarvis — will move forward on its own, because it’s the right thing to do, and push to put a DADT repeal on Obama’s desk within the budget bill. It would be a most awkward scenario, since Obama has told the Pentagon he will wait for them to review whether repealing DADT is worth doing before acting.

In doing so, he also told gay American servicemembers they were looking at another 10 months of possibly being fired because of how they were born.