After Representative Mark Green, a Tennessee Republican, was selected Monday to chair the House Homeland Security Committee, some social media users highlighted his past comments about transgender people that already led to trouble with a previous nomination.
Green, a retired U.S. Army flight surgeon, a graduate of West Point, and former member of the Tennessee state Senate, was once an Army secretary nominee in former President Donald Trump’s administration. However, he ended up withdrawing his nomination from consideration for the role in 2017 after coming under fire for past comments about members of the LGBTQ community, particularly transgender people.
Speaking at an event in 2016 for a Tea Party group, Green said: “If you poll the psychiatrists, they’re going to tell you transgender is a disease.”
When Green withdrew his name from consideration for Army secretary, he released a statement saying that he did so with “great regret” and was “honored” to have been nominated by Trump for the role. He wrote that there should be no “distractions” when trying to tackle the challenges of the position.
“And unfortunately due to false and misleading attacks against me, this nomination has become a distraction,” Green wrote. “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. While these 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.”
These comments were again highlighted on social media on Monday, including by Democratic Representative Don Beyer’s deputy chief of Staff Aaron Fritschner.
“Before he was elected to Congress, Mark Green was Trump’s second nominee for Secretary of the Army. His nomination was withdrawn after past bigoted comments surfaced, including attacks on Muslims and a public statement that “transgender is a disease,” Fritschner tweeted.
Before he was elected to Congress, Mark Green was Trump’s second nominee for Secretary of the Army. His nomination was withdrawn after past bigoted comments surfaced, including attacks on Muslims and a public statement that “transgender is a disease” https://t.co/YYVkyFUyxS https://t.co/uN6wMhVqHB
— Aaron Fritschner (@Fritschner) January 9, 2023
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights also highlighted Green’s past comments and ultimate decision to withdraw from Army secretary consideration.
“Reminder: Mark Green was formerly Trump’s choice for Army Secretary. Civil rights groups opposed his nomination because he made offensive comments about marginalized communities and supported anti-civil rights legislation and policies,” it wrote Monday.
Reminder: Mark Green was formerly Trump’s choice for Army Secretary. Civil rights groups opposed his nomination because he made offensive comments about marginalized communities and supported anti-civil rights legislation and policies.
He ultimately withdrew from consideration. https://t.co/G2f2aLRw1L
— The Leadership Conference (@civilrightsorg) January 9, 2023
Meanwhile, Twitter user @jayce1315 tweeted of Green: “His views on LGBTQ and non-Christian religions were so radical that he was one of only a few Trump nominees that couldn’t get rubber stamped by the GOP Senate.”
The controversy in 2017 didn’t prevent Green, who was a Tennessee state senator at the time he was nominated for Army secretary, from being elected to represent Tennessee’s 7th Congressional District. He assumed the office in January 2019, and was reelected in last year’s midterm elections.
Green celebrated his appointment as chair of House Homeland Security Committee in a Twitter thread Monday.
“For the sake of our national security and homeland security, ending the border crisis President [Joe] Biden created is our top priority,” the GOP lawmaker wrote.
For the sake of our national security and homeland security, ending the border crisis President Biden created is our top priority. /1
— Rep. Mark Green (@RepMarkGreen) January 9, 2023
He also said he was “grateful” to newly-elected House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and the House Republican Steering Committee “for entrusting me with this task; it’s time to get to work and fulfill our Commitment to America!”
Green added that his top contender for the chair role, Representative Dan Crenshaw, a Texas Republican, “ran a spirited race.”
“I’m grateful for his friendship and leadership. I look forward to working with him, a fellow veteran who understands our national security challenges, to secure our homeland,” Green wrote.
Newsweek reached out to Green’s office for comment.
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