Retired military leaders and congressional Democrats are urging Barack Obama to nominate Bill White, an openly gay executive at the New York museum featuring the aircraft carrier USS Intrepid, as secretary of the Navy, the Washington Times reports. The civilian post would not be subject to the Pentagon’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, but the appointment would reignite a contentious debate.
“He would be phenomenal,” said one retired chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. White has been a strong friend of the military, raising money for military causes and helping military families. But one “don’t ask” advocate says White’s selection would send the wrong message and be “very demoralizing for the troops,” a contention one New York Democrat called “nonsense.”