LGBT groups are protesting President Obama’s nomination of Sen.Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense because of a 15-year-old statement Hagel made about James Hormel, then-President Bill Clinton’s choice for U.S. ambassador to Luxembourg.
Hagel told the Omaha World Herald in 1998 that he felt Hormel’s sexual orientation was an “inhibiting factor” to his ability to do an effective job: ”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.”
Hagel apologized for his comments last month, but the group Log Cabin Republicans say his apology was “weak” and he is unfit for the cabinet position. The group has taken out full-page ads in the New York Times and the Washington Post to protest Hagel’s nomination.
“If he was truly, genuinely sorry about this, he could have called James Hormel directly instead of releasing this apology via media sources,” Gregory Angelo, interim executive director of Log Cabin Republicans, told Thomas Roberts on msnbc Monday. Angelo also cited the timing of Hagel’s apology—which coincided with the time his name began to be floated as a potential nominee for Secretary of Defense—as suspect.
“Is it good that he apologized? It’s always good when people move forward on issues, but there’s an entire portfolio of issues that we’re looking at,” Angelo continued. He cited Hagel’s support for the Defense of Marriage Act and “don’t ask, don’t tell” as additional reasons why Hagel was not an appropriate choice.
Angelo noted that Log Cabin Republicans spent a lot of time and money in fighting “don’t ask, don’t tell,” and it was necessary to have a Secretary of Defense who would work to implement the repeal effectively.
When asked whether or not Log Cabin Republicans would spend as much money fighting Speaker John Boehner and the rest of the GOP majority who are continuing their million-dollar defense of DOMA, Angelo responded that his organization’s mission has always been to hold both Republicans and Democrats accountable. He said that the campaign against Hagel was part of a larger campaign to raise Log Cabin Republicans’ profile, and added, “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.”