Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainDole to lie in state in Capitol Rotunda Bob Dole: A great leader of the 'Greatest Generation' The bully who pulls the levers of Trump's mind never learns MORE (R-Ariz.) called past comments from Army Secretary nominee Mark Green “very concerning” and said he’s heard from both Democrats and Republicans on the issue.
“There’s a lot of controversy concerning his nomination,” McCain told USA Today in an interview Tuesday. “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.”
Asked if he was bothered about Green’s remarks, McCain, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told the paper, “Of course. Some of the comments that have been attributed to him obviously are very concerning.”
Green has come under fierce opposition, particularly from LGBT groups, over his record as a Tennessee state senator and past comments. Muslim groups have also opposed the nomination.
For example, Green said that “transgender is a disease” at a speech last year to the Chattanooga Tea Party. And in an interview on an online radio show, Green cited a Bible verse that he says calls on the government to “crush evil” to explain his opposition to transgender bathroom rights and resettling Syrian refugees.
In the same Tea Party speech, Green agreed with a questioner who said “we need to take a stand on the indoctrination of Islam in our public schools.”
House Democrats have also slammed Green’s nomination, asking the Senate to reject him.
McCain appears to be the first Republican to publicly express concern about the pick.
The Armed Services Committee is split along party lines, with 14 Republicans to 13 Democrats, leaving little room for error if Green hopes to make it past the committee.
McCain told USA Today he found “a broad variety” of Green’s comments troubling.
“Concerning the Muslim faith, concerning the LGBT community, other issues according to the comments he has made in the past,” McCain continued.
The confirmation hearing, which has yet to be scheduled, will provide an opportunity for Green to address those issues, McCain added.
“When his nomination is submitted, we will give him an opportunity to respond to these questions that have been raised,” McCain said.