Mike Huckabee’s position on LGBT rights has been open and clear throughout his presidential campaign (and before). He has expressed dissent and disdain for the Supreme Court ruling that declared laws preventing same-sex marriage are discriminatory and invalid. He has spoken in support of the Kentucky county clerk who defied that ruling, and subsequent court orders.
Huckabee’s stance on LGBT rights, and specifically on the rights of LGBT individuals in the military, is no secret. In 2011, according to Talking Points Memo, Mike Huckabee declared that he wanted to reinstate “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and insisted that most military members agreed with him.
Now, Huckabee has addressed President Obama’s nomination of Eric Fanning for Secretary of the Army, calling the move a “social experiment” and suggesting that Fanning was nominated only because of his sexuality. Huckabee speaks of Fanning’s sexual orientation as “not a job qualification,” failing to mention Fanning’s actual qualifications.
In a Facebook post Saturday afternoon, Mike Huckabee issued the following statement.
“It’s clear President Obama is more interested in appeasing America’s homosexuals 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. Homosexuality is not a job qualification. The U.S. military is designed to keep Americans safe and complete combat missions, not conduct social experiments.”
However, a closer look at Fanning’s career history shows what Mike Huckabee left out. Army Times covered Fanning’s career move back in July, well before his nomination by President Obama.
The publication made a number of things clear: Fanning has had a long career working with the U.S. armed forces, including roles as deputy undersecretary of the Navy, undersecretary and acting secretary of the Air Force, and has served under the current secretary of the Army for several months, with an understanding that he was the most likely candidate to fill the role after current Army Secretary John McHugh’s upcoming retirement from the role.
Though Huckabee may refer to the nomination as a “social experiment” and suggest that it’s pandering by the president, a perusal of Eric Fanning’s history with the armed forces makes it clear that President Obama’s role in nomination is more ceremonial than anything: the people Fanning works with have recognized Fanning’s role for some time, and his experience has placed him in position for the nomination.
Huckabee is hardly the only person paying attention to Fanning’s sexuality — it’s true that this is the first time an openly gay man will fill this role, and that has certainly earned some notice. However, Fanning’s experience, not his love life, is clearly the reason he’s stepping into the role, and Mike Huckabee is failing to acknowledge that.
[Photo by Justin Sullivan / Getty Images]