Things can change rapidly in Washington, DC. Late yesterday (21 Dec.) former Ambassador James Hormel told the Washington Post he had doubts about Chuck Hagel’s apology. Sometime after that article was published, Hormel announced on his Facebook page all was forgiven.
‘Senator Hagel’s apology is significant–I can’t remember a time when a potential presidential nominee apologized for anything. While the timing appears self-serving, the words themselves are unequivocal–they are a clear apology. Since 1998, fourteen years have passed, and public attitudes have shifted–perhaps Senator Hagel has progressed with the times, too.’
In 1998 when Hormel was nominated to be the US ambassador to Luxembourg, he earned the ire of the then senator.
‘Ambassadorial posts are sensitive,’ Hagel said to the Omaha World Herald in 1998. ‘They are representing America. They are representing our lifestyles, our values, our standards. And I think it is an inhibiting factor to be — openly aggressively gay like Mr. Hormel — to do a better job.’
Now that Hagel is being considered as the next head of the Defense Department, he issued an apology.
‘My comments 14 years ago in 1998 were insensitive, Hagel said to Politico. ‘They do not reflect my views or the totality of my public record, and I apologize to Ambassador Hormel and any LGBT Americans who may question my commitment to their civil rights. I am fully supportive of ‘open service’ and committed to LGBT military families.’
Hagel, 66, hopes to succeed current Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.
Hormel is willing to support Hagel as the new leader of the Defense Department if there is ‘a commitment to treat LGBT service members and their families like everybody else.’
The former senator was a long time supporter of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. He now insists he’s an advocate of open service