Senator Joe Manchin Explains Vote On DADT Repeal, Is Booed At Rally

Friday, December 10, 2010

Sen. Joe Manchin today released the following statement regarding his decision to not support the repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy:
“While I believe the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy will be repealed someday, and probably should be repealed in the near future, I do not support its repeal at this time. I truly understand that my position will anger those who believe repeal should happen now and for that I sincerely apologize. While I am very sympathetic to those who passionately support the repeal, as a Senator of just three weeks, I have not had the opportunity to visit and hear the full range of viewpoints from the citizens of West Virginia.
“I would like to make clear that my concern is not with the idea of repealing DADT, but rather an issue of timing. My concerns, as highlighted in the recent defense survey and through the testimony of the service chiefs, are with the effect implementation of the repeal would have on our front line combat troops at this time.
“Furthermore, while I may disagree with a repeal of DADT at this time, some believe that President Obama, as Commander-in-Chief, if he so chooses, has the authority to suspend discharges under DADT, if he deems it a matter of national security. In fact, I asked this question during the second day of hearings on the repeal of DADT.  If this is correct, and the President was to make such an order, while I may disagree with it, I would respect his authority as President to do so.”