Former representative Barney Frank has toned down his opposition to Chuck Hagel as the White House signaled the president would nominate Hagel to succeed Leon Panetta as secretary of defense.

Multiple sources reported over the weekend that the president could make his announcement as early as Monday.

Speaking to the Boston Globe, Frank said he was “hoping the president wouldn't nominate” Hagel, but added that he was willing to look past his anti-gay record because Hagel favors drawing down the war in Afghanistan and reducing defense spending.

“As much as I regret what Hagel said, and resent what he said, the question now is going to be Afghanistan and scaling back the military,” he said. “In terms of the policy stuff, if he would be rejected [by the Senate], it would be a setback for those things.”

Frank was among those who criticized Hagel's views on gay rights.

One incident from 1998 has captured the most attention. In that year, then-Senator Hagel opposed James Hormel's nomination as U.S. ambassador to Luxembourg, saying Hormel was a bad fit because he's “openly, aggressively gay.”

Last month, Hagel, a Republican, apologized in a statement for the comments: “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.”

Frank was not appeased, arguing that Hagel had a history of “aggressively bigoted opposition” to gay rights.

“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,” Frank said.

The nation's leading group representing LGBT troops, OutServe-SLDN, said it accepted Hagel's apology but wanted to see concrete actions.

“It will now be incumbent upon him during the nomination and confirmation process to lay out demonstrable actions he will take to support that commitment [to LGBT troops and their families],” said Allyson Robinson, the group's executive director.