President Obama nominated a highly decorated deputy to become the nation’s Army Secretary on Friday. A former Air Force deputy himself, Eric Fanning has previously held posts in the Navy and Pentagon, respectively, making him a clear frontrunner for the bid.
So why is President Obama coming under fire?
Eric Fanning is the first Senate-confirmed gay civilian to ever oversee a branch of the military. To Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, the nomination signals the Obama administration’s attempt at “…appeasing American homosexuals more than honoring America’s heroes.”
“Veterans suicide is out-of-control and military readiness is dangerously low, yet Obama is so obsessed with pandering to liberal interest groups he’s nominated an openly gay civilian to run the Army,” said Huckabee. “Homosexuality,” he continued, “is not a job qualification.”
Unfortunately, Huckabee’s sentiments are not only his own. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) has since spoken out against Fanning, convolutedly citing his sexual orientation as communicating to Muslims that the United States is in support of child abuse within the ranks of the Afghani military.
“What do you think they will think,” he asked, “when they hear that not only did we tolerate what was being done to their boys by people under our authority but we turn around and approve a Secretary of the Army that they as moderate Muslims believe is just an atrocious thing? They’re going to think that that is quite consistent with us approving of what was going on between the older men in authority and these boys.”
Despite the pushback, September has been a landmark month for LGBT advancement within the U.S. military. Amanda Simpson become the first openly trans woman to be appointed by a President last week, sworn in as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Operational Energy.