Mark Green, the former military flight surgeon and arch-conservative Tennessee state Senator from Clarksville, has withdrawn as President Trump’s nominee for Secretary of the Army, becoming the President’s second pick for that position to be eliminated, in effect, by adverse public and political reaction.
The reason in Green’s case, according to multiple news reports, was his record of
provocative positions on a host of social issues. Or, as Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) put it, the critics of Green’s nomination would include “those who were personally vilified by his disparaging comments toward the LGBTQ community, Muslim community, Latino community and more.”
Trump’s previous nominee for Army Secretary, financier Vincent Viola, was forced to withdraw because of conflict-of-interest allegations stemming from his Wall Street career. Green, by contrast, was hoist on the petard of his remarks and actions as a Tennessee legislator.
One recent case in point was the Clarksville Republican senator’s sponsorship, in the current legislative session, of a measure that would expressly shield from legal retribution Tennessee businesses that took action against their employees based on their sexual orientation.
It was Green’s arch-conservative position on LGBTQ issues (transgender ones in particular), abortion, and other social issues, as well as support from Tea Party activists, that had given him a sizeable right-wing constituency and a platform from which to make a run for Governor in 2018. He had been considered a leading potential candidate for the GOP gubernatorial nomination next year but had essentially taken himself out of the running after Trump tapped the former Special Ops officer to head up the Army
Ironically, the storm of criticism from Democrats and some Republicans that forced Green to withdraw as a potential Secretary of the Army may give him a boost toward returning to the governor’s race, which is expected to draw several name candidates into the 2018 GOP primary.
Green dismissed the reaction of his critics as having been based on “false and misleading accusations,” but the tide of reaction to his nomination by Trump had grown to include , besides outright condemnation from Democrats and human rights organizations, public doubts from key Republicans like Arizona Senator John McCain, who made a point of noting the “controversy” surrounding Green.
The selfsame controversy would presumably follow Green into a hypothetical resumption of his gubernatorial candidacy, but it might also give him a proprietary claim on his party’s ultra-conservative wing, and that, in a multi-candidate race, could benefit him.