Defense Secretary James Mattis was unaware of controversial statements made by Mark Green, President Donald Trump's choice for Army secretary, when he vouched for his nomination last month, The Washington Examiner reported Friday. Green withdrew his name on Friday from consideration for the position.
Citing two anonymous Pentagon officials, Mattis did not know about the public statements Green, a former Army special operations flight surgeon, made opposing gay marriage, transgender bathroom rights and teaching Islam to public school students. Green is currently a Tennessee state senator and runs an emergency room staffing company.
"The White House did the vetting," said one official, who explained Mattis originally supported Green because of his military record.
Soon after Green's name came up for consideration for the Army secretary position, groups that support transgender rights called a news conference to share a video where he called transgenderism a disease. The Palm Center, one of the groups opposing his nomination, called Green a "stealth extremist."
Democrats and a total of 41 civil rights groups ultimately opposed Green's nomination, The Hill reported Friday.
Videos were freely available on social media showing controversial statements Green made, but when the Pentagon official was asked if Mattis was aware of them, he said "apparently not," the Washington Examiner reported.
Green was among the officers who attended to Saddam Hussein on the night he was captured, and eventually wrote a book, "A Night With Saddam."
Friday Green blamed "false and misleading attacks" for his decision to withdraw his name from consideration for Army secretary. On Facebook, he said liberals were targeting him for his Christian faith and that he was being deliberately misquoted.
President Donald Trump has had trouble filling the Army secretary position. In February, New York billionaire Vincent Viola withdrew his name from consideration citing possible conflicts with his business concerns. Later that month, defense lobbyist Van Hipp took himself out of the running, saying the timing wasn't right for him or his family.
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