Trump’s 2nd Army Secretary Pick Mark Green Withdraws Nomination Following Backlash Over Comments on Homosexuality, Islam, and Other Issues

Erik Schelzig/AP Photo

For the second time in just over three months, President Donald Trump’s pick to serve as secretary of the Army has withdrawn from consideration, the White House has confirmed.

Mark Green, who was nominated for the senior civilian post within the Department of Defense in April, stepped aside Friday after critics accused him of making bigoted statements and supporting anti-LGBTQ legislation as a Tennessee state senator.

In April, the Civil and Human Rights Coalition sent a letter to the Senate Armed Services committee asking it to reject Green’s nomination. Earlier Friday, a group of 10 retired officers also put out a statement calling him “unfit to serve as the next Secretary of the Army,” citing his “history of demeaning LGBT Americans, Latinos, and Muslims, and of denying basic healthcare to women.”

In a statement to The Tennessean, Green explained why he withdrew his name from consideration.

“Tragically, my life of public service and my Christian beliefs have been mischaracterized and attacked by a few on the other side of the aisle for political gain,” he said in the statement. “While these attacks have no bearing on the needs of the Army or my qualifications to serve, I believe it is critical to give the President the ability to move forward with his vision to restore our military to its rightful place in the world.”

A retired Army flight surgeon who served for two decades after his graduation from West Point, Green worked as the CEO of a health care company in Tennessee in addition to his duties as a state senator. He was selected by Trump after billionaire businessman Vincent Viola withdrew from the confirmation process, citing an inability to remove himself from business ties.

“Mr. Viola has informed President Trump that he will be unable to accept his nomination to serve as Secretary of the Army as the challenges of separating Mr. Viola from the organizations that he has built over the last thirty-five years have proven insurmountable,” a spokesman for Viola told ABC News at the time.

In addition to the two choices for secretary of the Army, Philip Bilden, Trump’s first nominee to be secretary of the Navy, withdrew in February for reasons related to his family’s financial holdings.

“After an extensive review process, I have determined that I will not be able to satisfy the Office of Government Ethics requirements without undue disruption and materially adverse divestment of my family’s private financial interests,” Bilden said in a February statement.

SOURCE: ABC News – JUSTIN FISHEL and ADAM KELSEY