At his Senate confirmation hearing on
Thursday, retired General James Mattis dodged questions about LGBT
Mattis is President-elect Donald
Trump's nominee for secretary of defense.
Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
questioned Mattis about statements he had made against women serving
in combat positions and the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, the
previous policy which did not allow gay troops to serve openly. Last
year, the Pentagon ended a policy that barred transgender troops from
When Gillibrand asked about female
troops, Mattis answered that he has “no plan to oppose women.”
“Do you believe that openly serving
homosexuals, along with women in combat units, is undermining our
“My belief is that we have to stay
focused on a military that is so lethal that on the battlefield it
will be the enemy's longest day and their worst day when they run
into that force,” he
answered. “I believe that military service is a touchstone for
patriots of whatever stripe. It's simply the way that they
demonstrate their commitment. And I believe that right now the
policies that are in effect, unless a service chief brings something
to me, where there's been a problem that's been proven, then I'm not
going in with an idea that I'm going to review these and right away
start rolling something back.”
“Do you believe that allowing LGBT
Americans to serve in the military, or women in combat, is
undermining our lethality?
Mattis answered that he was
uninterested in who two consenting adults go to bed with.
“So, the answer is no?”
Mattis reiterated that his concern was
with the “readiness” of the military.