After the White House has failed to lobby the Senate for “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’s” repeal while vigorously defending DADT and the Defense of Marriage Act in federal court, guess how the Human Rights Campaign made their displeasure with the White House’s lack of leadership known.
That’s right. They invited White House Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett to be their featured speaker at their gala fundraiser Saturday night. Not only that, but HRC lauded both Jarret and the White House, saying “She and President Obama both care deeply about equality and are strong supporters of those of us fighting for LGBT rights.”
If the White House’s inaction represents “strong support,” I can’t even begin to imagine what weak support would look like.
Servicemembers United, who has actually been lobbying very strongly for DADT’s repeal and whose representatives on Capital Hill alerted everyone to the sham vote that took place in the Senate last month, fired off a statement asking that Jarrett meet with LGBT veterans before attending the swank black-tie dinner:
“We certainly do not feel like the White House is a ‘strong supporter’ of gay and lesbian troops and veterans right now,” said Alexander Nicholson, Executive Director of Servicemembers United and a former U.S. Army human intelligence collector who was also discharged under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” “Before she appears at a black-tie fundraiser to tout the administration’s ‘strong support,’ Jarrett should meet and talk with those who have actually been impacted by this discriminatory law and who continue to fight this uphill battle for the lives and livelihoods of gay and lesbian troops. To ignore the reality of the administration’s choices, a reality manifested in our daily lives, while appearing at a party hosted by an organization that has given cover to this administration would be incredibly insulting.”
Nicholson really nails it when he accuses HRC of giving the administration cover. In May of 2009 — seventeen months ago! — HRC had already given Obama a blank check to maybe repeal DADT whenever, after emerging from a meeting with the White House over impatience with the administration’s foot-dragging clear back then. “They have a vision,” Joe Solmonese, HRC’s head honcho said. “They have a plan.”Later in October, Solmonese grew a tiny piece of a vertebra when he finally gave the White House a strict deadline for DADT’s repeal: January 19, 2017, the last day of Obama’s presumed second term in office.
HRC’s “fierce advocacy” on behalf of the Obama administration when into overdrive again yesterday in response to Servicemembers United’s criticism, with this statement from Fred Sainz, HRC’s vice president of communications:
“These latest hijinks by Nicholson are part of a troubling pattern of irrational, unprofessional, and unproductive behavior,” Sainz said. “[Nicholson's] rant is also without substance. The Administration helped to craft the legislation that was successfully voted on by the House and the Senate Armed Services Committee. Never before has a Defense Secretary or a Joint Chiefs chairman publicly supported repeal. This president got them there, and for that, he deserves our gratitude.”
Gratitude people, please!
Nicholson wasn’t having any part of that:
Nicholson responded to HRC’s statement on Saturday: “When the spokesperson for the largest gay organization stoops to vicious personal attacks against committed, unpaid staff of the smallest gay organization, you know there’s a problem with the former,” he said. “While I have more professionalism, rationality, and class than to return the favor and attack Sainz personally, I think this official ‘response’ from the Human Rights Campaign speaks volumes as to who is truly holding the administration’s feet to the fire on ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’”