WASHINGTON — While being questioned by Democratic New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand on Thursday over his position on women and open homosexuals in the military, Trump’s Secretary of Defense nominee, James Mattis, said that he has “never cared” about the sexuality of those in the Armed Forces and has no plans to overturn policies allowing them to serve.
“In your book ‘Warriors and Citizens,’ and the interviews you did afterwards, you said in recent policy debates such as those about allowing homosexuals to serve openly [that] you believe that ‘the American public is not nearly as concerned as it should be that the changes to military policies are accruing risk to our forces,'” Gillibrand noted, quoting from his publication.
“We fear that an uninformed public is permitting political leaders to impose an accretion of social conventions that are diminishing the combat power of our military disregarding our war-fighting practitioners advice,” she read.
Gillibrand then asked in light of Mattis’ past remarks, “Do you believe that openly-serving homosexuals, along with women in combat units, is undermining our force?”
Mattis replied that he believes the focus needs to be on making the U.S. military as strong as possible, and that he has no plans to repeal any current policies.
“Senator, 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. I believe that military service is a touchstone for patriots of whatever stripe,” he said.
“It’s simply the way they demonstrate their commitment, and I believe right now the policies that are in effect—unless a service chief brings something to me where there has been a problem that has been proven—then I’m not going in with the idea that I’m going to review these and right away start rolling something back,” Mattis advised.
Gillibrand then questioned Mattis again, “Do you believe that allowing LGBT Americans to serve in the military or women in combat is undermining our lethality?”
He replied that his concern is not in regard to the sexuality of those who serve.
“Frankly, senator, I’ve never cared about two consenting adults and who they go to bed with,” Mattis stated.
“So the answer is no?” Gillibrand asked.
“Senator, my concern is on the readiness of the force to fight and to make certain that it is at the top of its game so that we go up against an enemy—-the criteria for everything we do in the military up until that point when we put our young men and women across the line of departure is they will be at their most lethal stance,” he responded. “That’s my obligation as I move into this job.”
Mattis also advised during the questioning that he has no plans to oppose women serving in the military. As previously reported, Mattis had formerly questioned whether women are suitable for carrying out the “intimate killing” required in ground combat.
According to Military.com, Mattis also once said that he is worried about “eros” in the trenches, opining that it is not wise to put “healthy young men and women together and we expect them to act like little saints.”