Despite the fact that Former Senator Chuck Hagel made an apology for comments he made fourteen years ago, the Log Cabin Republicans have taken out an ad in The New York Times attacking Hagel’s possible nomination to the position of Secretary of Defense.
Fourteen years ago, Hagel attacked the nomination of James Hormel, an openly gay man, who had been nominated as Ambassador to Luxembourg. At the time, Hagel stated “They are representing America [as ambassador]. They are representing our lifestyle, our values, our standards. And I think it is an inhibiting factor to be gay — openly, aggressively gay.”
The ad also attacks Hagel by saying “Chuck Hagel: Wrong on gay rights. Wrong on Iran. Wrong on Israel. Tell President Obama that Chuck Hagel is wrong for Defense Secretary.” Conservatives have attacked Hagel over comments he has made complaining about the “Jewish lobby”, and the fact that Hagel has voted against extending sanctions against Iran.
Earlier this month, Hagel apologized for the comments about Hormel stating “My comments 14 years ago in 1998 were insensitive. They do not reflect my views or the totality of my public record, and I apologize to Ambassador Hormel and any LGBT Americans who may question my commitment to their civil rights. I am fully supportive of ‘open service’ and committed to LGBT military families.”
It is not clear if Hagel is even going to be the choice that President Obama makes for his new Defense Secretary.
For his part, Hormel stated:
“Senator Hagel’s apology is significant–I can’t remember a time when a potential presidential nominee apologized for anything. While the timing appears self-serving, the words themselves are unequivocal–they are a clear apology. Since 1998, fourteen years have passed, and public attitudes have shifted–perhaps Senator Hagel has progressed with the times, too. His action affords new stature to the LGBT constituency, whose members still are treated as second class citizens in innumerable ways. Senator Hagel stated in his remarks that he was willing to support open military service and LGBT military families. If that is a commitment to treat LGBT service members and their families like everybody else, I would support his nomination.”