House Republicans rush to Army nominee's defense

House Republicans rush to Army nominee's defense
© Courtesy of Mark Green

House Republican lawmakers are jumping to Army secretary nominee Mark Green’s defense as opposition against him continues to mount.

Eleven GOP lawmakers led by Reps. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) and Marsha BlackburnMarsha BlackburnGraham warns of 5G security threat from China Export-Import Bank back to full strength after Senate confirmations Trump, Senate GOP discuss effort to overhaul legal immigration MORE (R-Tenn.) sent a letter Wednesday to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's Morning Report - White House, Congress: Urgency of now around budget GOP presses Trump to make a deal on spending Overnight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — McConnell, Kaine offer bill to raise tobacco buying age to 21 | Measles outbreak spreads to 24 states | Pro-ObamaCare group launches ad blitz to protect Dems MORE (R-Ky.) and Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCainJohn Sidney McCainPelosi receives John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award Romney: Trump 'has distanced himself from some of the best qualities of the human character' MSNBC host: Barr 'the most dangerous person' who works for Trump MORE (R-Ariz.) asking them to consider “the totality of Mark’s service.”

“Mark is a dedicated public servant with a long record of distinguished accomplishments in defense of the nation,” they wrote. “As the confirmation process proceeds, we ask that you give strong consideration to the totality of Mark’s service and his record, while also recognizing that, as the case for any service secretary, he would be tasked with overseeing the service consistent with the priorities of the commander-in-chief.”

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Green, a Tennessee state senator, has come under fierce opposition over past statements he’s made on LGBT people, Muslims, Latinos, the Second Amendment and creationism.

On Tuesday, McCain said that both Republicans and Democrats on his committee have expressed concern about Green’s statements and that he also finds them “very concerning.” But he added that Green should have a chance to defend himself at his confirmation hearing.

House Democrats have also jumped into the fray. Thirty-one Democratic lawmakers sent a letter to McCain and Armed Services ranking member Jack ReedJohn (Jack) Francis ReedTrump, Europe increasingly at odds on Iran Let's stop treating student borrowers like second-class citizens HUD chief Carson broke law with unauthorized purchases, GAO says MORE (D-R.I.) telling them to reject Green, and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) called on President Trump to withdraw the nomination.

In the Republicans’ letter, they argue Green’s personal statements should not overshadow his qualifications.

“Any attempt to politicize personal statements or view that have been expressed by Mark at any point throughout his career must not be allowed to supersede his qualifications or be conflated to create needless uncertainty with his nomination,” they wrote.

The lawmakers highlight Green’s time in the 82nd Airborne Division and his service as a flight surgeon with the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, as well as the fact that he’s a West Point graduate.

They argue he has the ability to enhance the Army’s warfighting capability and “build on the mutual trust” between soldiers and their leaders.

“The Army has been, and will remain, at the leading edge of the fight to protect America’s global security interests,” they wrote. “With Mark, the Army will be even better positioned for the future and, as consideration for his nomination continues, please know that he has our support.”

Signatories on the letter include all Republicans from Tennessee’s House delegation, House Armed Services members Reps. Steve Russell (R-Okla.) and Trent FranksHarold (Trent) Trent FranksArizona New Members 2019 Cook shifts 8 House races toward Dems Freedom Caucus members see openings in leadership MORE (R-Ariz.) and Iraq War veteran Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.).

In a statement to The Hill, Hunter’s chief of staff added that Green’s nomination shouldn’t be “railroaded” by politics.

“We’re in the business of politics but that doesn’t mean that we should allow a qualified nominee for service secretary be railroaded by interest groups and members of Congress for reasons that are a distraction from the true responsibilities of the job,” Joe Kasper said in the statement.

“Mark Green is a qualified nominee—plain and simple. And he should be judged on the totality of his record, because on that he’s confirmed in short order.”