The Republican leader in the Senate is virtually guaranteeing that there will be no repeal this year of the military’s controversial policy which forces gay, lesbian and trans-gender members to hide their personal lives or face expulsion from the service.
Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told NBC’s David Gregory Sunday that he doesn’t see any way that “don’t ask, don’t tell” can be repealed in the lame duck session.
“People are talking like that is the only issue,” McConnell said. “That defense bill also has abortions in military hospitals. Once you get on the defense bill it typically takes two weeks. I don’t see how we can possibly finish the defense authorization bill — a two-week bill wholly aside from these controversial items that are in it, there are a lot of other things in it — before the end of the year.”
“Even as you get into January, in your mind, do you think the support is there to lift the ban in Congress?” Gregory asked.
“My personal view is that Sen. McCain is correct on this. I intend to follow his lead. We’ll find out when we finally get around to debating this bill which I think will not be before the end of the year,” he concluded.
The Pentagon released a study last week that said a majority of service members support ending the ban. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has rejected the study’s methodology.
“[T]his study was directed at how to implement the repeal, not whether the repeal should take place or not,” McCain said in mid-November.
The Arizona senator has blasted President Barack Obama for advocating for repeal.
“The fact is this was a political promise made by an inexperienced president or candidate for presidency of the United States,” he said.
But Retired General and former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Wesley Clark said Sunday that with the military focused on war, now was the perfect time to do away with the policy.
“This is the ideal time to do this, because we’re talking about building teamwork around a common purpose,” Clark told ABC’s Christiane Amanpour.
This video is from NBC’s Meet the Press, broadcast Nov. 5, 2010.