On Friday, President Donald Trump’s embattled Army secretary pick, Mark Green, withdrew his nomination for the position. He is the second person to remove his name from consideration for the post. Green was opposed by a growing coalition of progressive groups for his extreme positions on LGBTQ equality, Muslims, Latinos, and immigrants. He had called transgender identity “a disease,” blasted public schools that teach students about Islam, and pushed legislation to allow businesses, therapists, and teachers to discriminate against LGBTQ people with impunity.
Green, who currently serves as a Republican Tennessee state senator, was so outside the mainstream that even military officers and stalwart conservatives in Congress were leery of supporting him. Sen. John McCain called Green’s past comments “very concerning” because of “a broad variety [of remarks] concerning the Muslim faith, concerning the LGBT community, [and] other issues.”
His withdrawal, then, was a victory not just for the Trump resistance but for the broader view that the 21st-century military must be led by people capable of respecting a truly multicultural fighting force.
Green may have gotten out just in time. The latest of a barrage of criticism of his past positions surfaced Thursday when reports emerged that the Tennessee state senator had opposed government support for health care because it could lead people away from God. Green, who is also a doctor, said that he views “government-based assistance [as] taking God out of the picture.” People who are “in need,” he explained, “look to the government for the answer, not God.”
Coming just one day after House Republicans voted to yank away health insurance from 24 million people, Green’s withdrawal allows both the Army and the GOP to dodge a bullet. But progressives shouldn’t let the country forget what President Trump and his party tried—and failed—to do.