Florida Gov. Charlie Crist has now come out in support of a repeal compromise to the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy — which bars openly gay citizens from serving in the armed forces. Crist, running as a no-party candidate for U.S. Senate after ruling out a GOP run, has said in the past that he does not support lifting the repeal.
Greg Sargent, of The Washington Post, received a statement from Crist via his spokesperson today:
Ultimately, as in all military matters I defer to the Pentagon and to the Generals and what the Senate is doing today is giving them the ultimate authority to do what is best for our military. So, I would be inclined to support the Senate’s action on this.
As Sargent points out, the support of the Senate’s action is, in effect, a support for the repeal.
Crist’s claim that the measure gives “ultimate authority” to the commanders appears to be a reference to the fact that the compromise mandates that the Pentagon complete its study before repeal is implemented.
Nonetheless, Crist’s support for the “Senate’s action” is equivalent to support for repeal, because that’s what the compromise does.
In February, the governor was opposed to the change:
“We are a nation at war. The governor believes the current policy has worked, and there is no need to make changes,” Crist campaign spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg said.
And after prodding lately from Democratic candidate Rep. Kendrick Meek (who Crist is trying to siphon Democratic votes from), Crist said Monday:
I think the current policy has worked pretty well for America. I really do. So I don’t know why there’s any need for change at this time.
Polls of late show Crist and likely Republican nominee for Senate Marco Rubio swapping leads in the race, with Meek trailing in every instance.
[Pic via commons.wikimedia.org]