In 1998, then GOP Senator Chuck Hagel called James Hormel, President Bill Clinton’s choice for U.S. ambassador to Luxembourg, “openly, aggressively gay.” He called Hormel’s sexual orientation an “inhibiting factor” that would prevent him from doing “an effective job.”
Fast forward to 2012.
Now that President Obama is considering nominating Hagel as Defense Secretary, and the nasty comment from the past has resurfaced, Hagel has apologized and even President Obama has said he believed that Hagel had “evolved” on the issue.
But Barney Frank’s not having any of the excuses being used by either Hagel or the President and expressed his discomfort and distate with Hagel’s possible nomination in a statement put out by his office:
“Then-Senator Hagel’s aggressively bigoted opposition to President Clinton’s naming the first openly gay Ambassador in U.S. history was not, as Sen. Hagel now claims, an aberration. He voted consistently against fairness for LGBT people and there does not seem to be any evidence prior to his effort to become Secretary of Defense of any apology or retraction of his attack on James Hormel. And to those of us who admire and respect Mr. Hormel, Sen. Hagel’s description of him as aggressive can only mean that the Senator strongly objected to Hormel’s reasoned, civil advocacy for LGBT people.
I cannot think of any other minority group in the U.S. today where such a negative statement and action made in 1998 would not be an obstacle to a major Presidential appointment.”
Unfortunately Barney Frank is retiring from Congress, so he will not have a chance to vote for or against President Barack Obama’s eventual Defense Secretary nominee.
But atleast he got some last licks in.