Since President Trump nominated Tennessee State Sen. Mark Green, R-Clarksville, to be the next Army secretary, controversy has swirled concerning his legislative efforts and public remarks regarding the LGBT community.
Even before his April 7 nomination announcement, there were multiple media reports about the outspokenly religious lawmaker's past comments, and they have not since let up. On Tuesday, Green took to his official Facebook page to refute the stories.
As of April 26, Congress had not received Green's nomination from the White House, according to the congressional record.
Green and a representative for the senator did not respond to requests for comment Wednesday.
The Facebook post stemmed from recent stories in the Huffington Post, The Tennessean and USA Today, which quoted his appearance on Blog Talk Radio in 2016.
During the course of that interview, which covered both transgender bathroom laws as well as fighting ISIS, Green said that his job as a public official is to "crush evil."
The government exists to honor those people who live honorably, who do good things – to reward people who behave well and to crush evil. So that means as a state senator, my responsibility very clearly in Romans 13 is to create an environment where people who do right are rewarded and the people who do wrong are crushed. Evil is crushed. So I'm going to protect women in their bathrooms, and I'm going to protect our state against potential infiltration from the Syrian ISIS people in the refugee program. And whoever wants to stand up and take me on that, I'm ready to fight.
In context, he was talking about the possibility that rapists would take advantage of transgender bathroom laws — which allow people to use the restroom of the gender with which they identify — to prey on women.
"There are 300,000 rapes in the United States every year," Green said earlier in the interview. "Three hundred thousand women who are sexually assaulted by predators. We know this. It’s documented. It’s factual. To think that some young guy isn’t going to take advantage of the system where we’re going to allow guys to go into the bathroom ― the women’s bathroom ― to think that it’s not going to happen is just ridiculous."
Some — including transgender Olympic gold medalist Caitlin Jenner, who spoke out against him in a Monday appearance on Tucker Carlson Tonight — have taken his statements to mean that he thinks transgender people are evil and must be crushed.
LGBT advocates have also called out Green for supporting a Tennessee law that would require local governments to do business with private companies regardless of whether their human resources policies allow discrimination against LGBT employees.
The senator has also been quoted suggesting that the Tennessee governor refuse to issue licenses for same-sex marriage because the state did not vote to support it, as well as referring to transgenderism as a disease in a September speech to the Chattanooga Tea Party.
Green, a West Point grad and former flight surgeon with the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, was referring to outdated information from the American Psychiatric Association.
In 2011, the organization updated its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders to remove "gender identity disorder" and replace it with "gender dysphoria," a type of distress that some — but not all — transgender people experience.
In an April 11 statement provided to Army Times, Green said he did not intend to bring his personal feelings to his role as civilian leader of the Army.
"I was nominated by President Trump to do one job: serve as his secretary of the Army," he said. "If confirmed, I will solely focus on making recommendations to him on how to keep our country safe and secure. Politics will have nothing to do with it."
Meghann Myers is the Pentagon bureau chief at Military Times. She covers operations, policy, personnel, leadership and other issues affecting service members.