Second Trump Army Secretary Nominee Withdraws

FILE - In this April 17, 2013, file photo, state Sen. Mark Green, R-Clarksville, sits at his desk in the Senate chamber in Nashville, Tenn. Green’s nomination to become President Donald Trump’s secretary of the Army has put the lawmaker’s gubernatorial campaign in Tennessee on hold. (AP Photo/Erik Schelzig, file)
Erik Schelzig/AP

The White House’s second pick to become secretary of the Army withdrew his nomination for that post on Friday.

“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,” Mark Green said in a statement.

CNN first reported on Tuesday that Green, a Tennessee state senator and former Army physician and West Point graduate, was unlikely to move forward because, according to one unnamed source, “there are questions whether he has enough support from either side of the aisle.”

Green ran into fierce opposition for his open slurs against Muslims and LGBT people.

Trump’s previous nominee to lead the Army, businessman and investor Vincent Viola, withdrew his name from consideration for the post on Feb. 4 following his difficulty separating himself from his businesses. Trump’s previous nominee for Navy secretary, Philip Bilden, also withdrew his name over financial conflicts weeks later, despite White House assertions that he would not.

On Tuesday, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-AZ) told USA Today, “Some of the comments that have been attributed to him obviously are very concerning” and “I think there are some issues that clearly need to be cleared up.”

Trump nominated Green on April 7, to an immediate backlash. A military LGBT group told the New York Times that Green “cannot be trusted to ensure all those who serve have the support they need and deserve,” given his record as a state legislator.

Addressing a Tea Party group last year, the Times noted, Green said that a poll of psychiatrists would reveal “transgender is a disease,” and “we are back to where the country was at its beginning, and it’s the armed citizen who will defend this nation.”

Muslim advocacy groups also came out against Green’s past statements against Islam, including that it shouldn’t be included in public school curricula, except when portrayed as an invading military force. In his book, “A Night with Saddam,” which detailed his role in the operation that resulted in the capture of Saddam Hussein, Green wrote that Hussein “was not filthy,” unlike other high-value targets, who “had an odor of what I thought was curry mixed with sweat.”

On Monday, CNN surfaced a lecture Green gave in 2015, in which he said the theory of evolution violated the second law of thermodynamics and compared billions of years of evolution to leaving a lawnmower outdoors.

“If you put a lawn mower out in your yard and a hundred years come back, it’s rusted and falling apart,” he said. “You can’t put parts out there and a hundred years later it’s gonna come back together. That is a violation of a law of thermodynamics. A physical law that exists in the universe.”

On April 25, Green posted a statement on his Facebook page defending himself, writing that “liberal left has cut and spliced my words about terrorism and ISIS blatantly falsifying what I’ve said,” and linking to an article from ChristianFighterPilot.com that described one critic of Green’s as a “self-described man-turned-woman.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously assistant editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at mshuham@talkingpointsmemo.com and on Twitter @mattshuham.
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