Speed Reads

on second thought

James Mattis backtracks, says he won't oppose women, LGBT individuals in the military

Retired Marine Gen. James Mattis seemed to walk back his previous objections to women serving in the military during his Senate confirmation hearing Thursday regarding his nomination for secretary of defense. As Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) pointed out in her questioning of Mattis, he has previously questioned whether women could handle the "atavistic primitive world" of the infantry, and he has also suggested it isn't appropriate to "mix love, affection, whatever you call it" with combat.

But on Thursday, Mattis suggested he has "no plan to oppose women in any aspect of our military." His sole concern, he said, is that everyone in the military meets the expected standards. "The standards are the standards, and when people meet the standards, that's the end of the discussion on that," Mattis said.

He expressed a similar stance on the participation of LGBT individuals in the military. "My concern is the readiness of the force," Mattis said. He added: "Frankly senator, I've never cared much about two consenting adults and who they go to bed with."

Catch a snippet of the exchange between Mattis and Gillibrand below. Becca Stanek