Gen. James Mattis Refuses to Say if he’s Against Female and LGBT Service Members


On Thursday, during Gen. James Mattis‘s confirmation hearing for Secretary of Defense, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York) challenged him on comments he had made in the past. Specifically, she tried to quiz him on past comments about women, homosexuals, and transgender men and women in the military, but when he responded, he wasn’t giving direct answers to her questions.

Gillibrand asked Mattis if he stood by his comments that mixing both genders in the military has never worked anywhere in world history, comparing it to mixing different types of eros. “Senator, I was not in a position to go back into government when I made those statements,” the retired general replied. “I’m coming in with the understanding that I lead the Department of Defense, and if someone brings mea a problem, then I’ll look at it, but I’m not coming in looking for problems. I’m looking for ways to get the department so that it’s at its most lethal…stance.” In summation, he said he was looking at “military readiness.”

When asked directly if he no longer believes that men and women serving together is a problem, Mattis just said that we need to “train our leaders so they could handle things that come from a policy that decided this down.” GIllibrand then followed up by asking if, in light of comments he made in his book and on the subsequent book tour, if he feels that “openly serving homosexuals along with women in combat units is undermining our force.” Like rarlier, he said that he was only prepared to do anything if a problem was brought to his attention, but when Gillibrand asked if he thought it was “undermining our lethality,” he said he didn’t care about “two consenting adults and who they go to bed with.”

Asked if that was a no, he gave a long response that didn’t answer the question. When Gillibrand tried to get a clearer response for the record, her time expired.

[Photo: C-SPAN 3 screen grab]

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