- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 4, 2017

His military resume to become the next Army secretary appears impeccable, but his conservative Christian beliefs have rallied the gay rights movement and its Democratic supporters to defeat the soldier-businessman-politician.

This week, a group of 11 House Republicans entered the battle on the side of combat veteran Mark E. Green, sending an endorsement letter to Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain, Arizona Republican.

“Mark’s commitment to the men and women of the U.S. Army is emboldened by his faithful service as a solider,” said the letter spearheaded by Rep. Duncan Hunter of California and signed by representatives from his home state of Tennessee.

Mr. McCain said his week he has reservations about Mr. Green as Army secretary.

Mr. Green took to Facebook to say the gay rights movement and liberals are “cutting and splicing my words to paint me as a hater. It will not stand.”

Mr. Green, whose intent to nominate to the Senate was announced by President Trump last month, is a West Point graduate who served as a platoon leader and company commander in the storied 82nd Airborne Division.

A Christian conservative, Mr Green changed career course from infantryman to physician, completing medical school and then serving as flight surgeon for the fabled 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment. The public knows SOAR as the unit that flew the Navy SEALs into Pakistan to kill Osama bin Laden.

But the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) movement is in full throttle on Capitol Hill to stop the Tennessee state senator. They said he is outdated for an armed forces that President Obama opened to gays and then cross dressers and transsexuals.

Liberals say Mr. Green once referred to transgender person as having a disease and that he opposes gay marriage.

He has also spoken out against teaching Islamic history in public schools, the say.

The Pentagon itself had long blocked transgender people from joining the military for medical reasons until the Obama administration lifted the ban last year.

Mr. Green also sides with conservatives on denying transgender people the right to chose their public rest room preference.

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer of New York issued a statement on Wednesday calling on Mr. Trump to pull the nomination.

“A man who was the lead sponsor of legislation to make it easier for businesses to discriminate against the LGBTQ community; opposes gay marriage, which is the law of the land; believes being transgender is a ‘disease;’ supports constricting access to legal contraception; and makes deeply troubling comments about Muslims is the wrong choice to lead America’s Army,” Mr. Schumer said.

Mr. Green on April 25 posted a vigorous defense on his Facebook page.

“The liberal left has cut and spliced my words about terrorism and ISIS blatantly falsifying what I’ve said.,” he wrote.

“Let me be very clear, the only people I have ever called evil are murderous terrorists trying to kill Americans. The only people I have ever suggested be crushed are the terrorist enemies of our nation. I have never and will never force my religion on anyone. If God gives Mankind a choice, which I believe, who am I to force my faith on anyone?”

He added, “I believe that every American has a right to defend their country regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, and religion. It’s the radical left that won’t allow the latter.”

Mr. Green’s backers say he is the latest Christian target of gay activists and an increasingly left-wing Democratic Party where liberal Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts guides priorities.

“The fact that a few interest groups are trying to railroad Mark Green and encourage Senators like Chuck Schumer and Elizabeth Warren to rally votes against him should signal to Senator McCain and others that with Donald Trump as president, the extreme wing of the Democratic party will look to politicize anything in the hope that it gives the president a black eye,” said Joe Kasper, Mr. Hunter’s chief of staff.

Mr. Kasper said the Army needs a civilian leadership change to a secretary who has seen combat.

“Mark is a game changer for the Army and will being a whole new level of insight where it matters,” he said.

His backers wrote a biography that says that as a physician Mr. Green deployed twice to the Iraq war and once to Afghanistan. He was selected Army flight surgeon of the year and was awarded the Bronze Star and an Air Medal, with a “V” device, for valor under heavy enemy fire.

After 16 year in the Army, leaving as a lieutenant colonel, the Republican Mr. Green won election to the state senate and founded a healthcare company in his home office. It now employs over 800 medical providers in 10 states.

Latinos for Tennessee, a conservative group, issued a statement last month endorsing Mr. Green, with executive director Raul Lopez saying “President Trump could not have picked a better public servant to lead our Army during this critical time as our country is being tested, at home and abroad.”

Defense Secretary James Mattis said, “Mark will provide strong civilian leadership, improve military readiness and support our service members, civilians, and their families. And, he will have my full support during the Senate confirmation process.”

Mr. McCain told USA Today, “There’s a lot of controversy concerning his nomination…We are getting some questions from both Republicans and Democrats on the Armed Services Committee. I think there are some issues that clearly need to be cleared up.”

No hearing date has been set.

• Rowan Scarborough can be reached at rscarborough@washingtontimes.com.

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