The LGBTQ Victory Institute Honors Speaker Pelosi CSPAN January 2, 2021 7:59pm-9:23pm EST
c-span,g up tonight on the lgbtq victory institute years speaker pelosi, 10 after the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" legislation. then, michigan governor gretchen whitmer talks about her role leading the state in the 2020 election and the covid pandemic. interviews the hill representatives-elect on their priorities for the 117th congress. the lgbtq victory institute honors speaker nancy pelosi on the 10th anniversary of "don't
ask, don't tell". pelosi spoke about the work that went into repealing the law, which prevented gay and lesbian service members from discussing their sexual orientation. >> it is wonderful to join the international lgbtq conference. to the victory institute, thank you, thank you, thank you for your leadership and bravery, for your leaving the possibilities. a historic number of lgbtq ran becameice this year, and an ally. vice president elect harris and i are committed to becoming the administration in history, but we can't do it without you and without my good rent, nancy pelosi. nancy, congratulations on
receiving the award. you deserve it. three decades in congress, always on the right side of lgbtq history. always. at the fact that you can receive a historymaker award for that and so much more is a testament to that and so much more, nancy. it is a testament to a life work to make real the promise of this country that you have been devoted to, that we are all created equal and deserve to be treated equally, and with dignity and respect. you are a dear friend, nancy. you are an american treasure, and i can't wait to work together again to fight or fully quality and usher in a new era of lgbtq rights. god bless you, nancy. you deserve this, and though much more. and god bless us all. >> good day to all of you, and
welcome. my name is jason and i am a proud member of the lgbtq victory fund. let me say how delighted i am that we are honoring my friend and speaker nancy pelosi, for our historymaker award. i would also like to thank a member of the committee, dear friend and best dressed man in town, jonathan capehart, for taking time today to monitor this very important conversation. we are grateful for jennifer pritzker, chairwoman of the pritzker military museum and library, for serving as executive sponsor of today's historic panel, and this year's lgbtq leaders conference. colonel pritzker regrets she couldn't be with us today. honoredbsence, i am to share her following thoughts. panel, 10 years later, the repeal of "don't ask, don't
tell" reminded colonel pritzker of one of her favorite stories from the military. the year is 1975, and on the cover of "time" magazine appeared a technical sergeant in uniform, with an earnest expression. the headline read, i am a homosexual. lovich was in the air force with an exemplary record, but the air force didn't want him or any other lgbtq american to defend his country in uniform. the first gaycame servicemember to out himself on a national stage, the first gay person to be named openly on the cover of a major national magazine. this said to millions of lgbtq people suffering in silence, you are not alone. his gravestone at the washington
national cemetery is on named, so as to serve as a memorial to all gay veterans. it reads, when i was in the military, they gave me a metal for killing two men, and a discharge for loving one. the sergeant's call to arms was taken up in the decade since, and today we gather to hear from some of them. 10 years this month, the "don't ask, don't tell" repeal law was passed through the leadership of speaker pelosi and support from congressman patrick murphy. we will also hear from admiral jarrett, andie others who played a key role in ending the ban. transgendern on service remains, but seems to be in its very last throes, thanks to the same people with us today, and the work and courage of heroes like sergeant matlo vich.
i look forward to hearing what they say as we take up the fight ahead. thank you. enjoy today's discussion. my name is claire, and i am the proud order chair of the lgbtq victory institute. since the founding of our nation, lgbtq have served in our military, risking their lives. yet the majority of that history, more than 225 years of it, lgbtq people remained hidden, faced dishonorable discharge, or worse. signedask, don't tell" into law in 1993, allowed gay, lesbian and bisexual service members to serve, as long as they remained hidden. however, the status quo remained unchanged for trans service members. while americans became more
supportive of the quality and lgbtq service members having to hide the personal lives became more glaring. and the administration of barack obama and members of congress led by speaker nancy pelosi were determined to take action. 10 years ago, "don't ask, don't tell" was repealed, and for the first time in american history, lgbtq individuals were finally able to serve openly. claimed thectivists sky would fall, but dire predictions proved unfounded. today, you will get a behind-the-scenes look at the repeal of lgbtq with -- repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" with perspectives from the white house, congress, the military and advocacy community. you will hear about the impact of the repeal on lgbtq service members in the country at large.
under the trump administration, trans service members were targeted with a band that went into effect in 2018. yet president elect joe biden has promised -- president-elect joe biden has promised to reenact the obama era policy allowing lgbtq to serve openly. they can again be open about who they are. it will send a message to the world that the united states is a country that prizes e quality, whether in baghdad, berlin, or washington dc, out service atbers influence policies home and abroad. thank you for joining us as we celebrate speaker nancy pelosi with the lgbtq historymaker award for her work to repeal "don't ask, don't tell" and for the insightful conversation about where we are at where we are headed. and of course, thank you to those who have served and are serving. ♪
this is congressman mark takano, and i am the only lgbtq chairman of a full, standing committee in the house of representatives, the committee on veterans affairs. it is my distinct honor and privilege to send a message of congratulations to speaker nancy pelosi upon her receiving the historymakertq award for her achievement in leadership, and overturning the "don't ask, don't tell" policy in the lame-duck session of the 111th congress. she guided the repeal of that harmful toch was so members.gbtq service
and it is so reflective of who she is as a person, as a human being, someone guided by basic and horrified, horrified by any kind of cruelty that human beings inflict upon one another. >> early on, our biggest fights were constitutional amendments about prohibiting gay people from getting married and trying to protect people from discrimination. it was hard to imagine today's world where now, i am able to marry my wife, raise our daughter and be protect -- and to be productive. and none of this would have been possible without the great work of speaker nancy pelosi. she has been an outspoken ally who stood in the fight with us, raised her voice long before so many others.
she has been with us from the beginning. when no one else would raise their voice about the decimation of our community from the hiv-aids epidemic, she was on the house floor fighting for needed funding. she fought for the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell", for the passage of federal hate crime laws, and she embraced marriage equality early on, even voting the 1990's. in today, she continues to fight for us and passage of the equality act. she is a true trailblazer who is one of our most important allies in the fight for equality. speaker pelosi, thank you so much for helping create a more just world, and congratulation on such a well-deserved award. >> madame speaker, congratulations p when history looks back at this moment, it will see that you not only what the -- not only led the democratic party, but fighting
for ideals and making them real for so many who been left outside of inclusiveness in our country. whether it was fighting back against "don't ask, don't tell" or leading the fight for the equality act, or trying to find all the ways we need to make our country kinder, more inclusive, stronger and fairer. you have been at the forefront of every single fight. we are so grateful for you. thank you, and congratulations. ♪ it was nancy's political skill, courage and devotion to principle, or "don't ask, don't tell" would still be on the book. in 2010, she told the senate she would not pass the defense authorization bill they worked on until they agreed to repeal "don't ask, don't tell" and some of them didn't like it, but they did it because they knew she would follow through.
she had the most effective use of political power on behalf of her principles than anyone i have ever seen. >> i want to offer my congratulations to speaker pelosi by earning the lgbtq historymaker word from the institute. your work over the years has made so much difference, including on "don't ask, don't tell". served knowing i could be fired for who i am. in just a few years later, because of the work of speaker pelosi, being able to include some of my fellow officers as guests at my wedding to c hasten. we have come a long way, -- we have a long way to go, but we have come a long way thanks to your leadership. at boston university, one of the things i had to do was sign a piece of paper saying that i will not engage in homosexual behavior. my opportunity to get an
education, serve our country, that goes away because we didn't have enough leaders with the courage to say anybody willing and ready to serve should have the opportunity. "don't ask, don't tell" was a policy that never should have been, thankfully it is no more, in no small part to speaker pelosi's leadership. speaker pelosi is always ready to throw a punch for the children, and is always ready to throw a punch for lgbtq equality. thank you. speaker pelosi, it is james obergefell. i want to send my congratulations on your honor as an lgbtq historymaker. you deserve this award, from your amazing work on the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" to your support of marriage equality, you have been an advocate for the lgbtq plus
community and you definitely deserve this honor. congratulations again, speaker pelosi. >> congratulations, speaker pelosi and being honored with the inaugural lgbtq history makers award. your leadership in repealing just one don't tell is example from a very long list of how you have helped make america better for the disenfranchised in our society. i am honored not only to call you a friend, but one of my heroes. thank you for inspiring me and countless other women. you not only busted the glass ceiling, you ensured barriers are torn down that keep lgbtq plus people, women and so many others from living the lives they deserve. congratulations. i love you, nancy. gunneaker pelosi, tim
here to celebrate with you on the 10th anniversary of the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell". posted after, you and i at mytq reception apartment. it was astonishing and electrifying and you made us all feel special. congratulations on receiving the leadership institute's inaugural lgbtq historymakers award, and profuse thanks for your support for our committee. you are indeed a historymaker every day. ♪ i am patrick murphy, undersecretary of the army and a congressman from pennsylvania. it is my honor to present speaker nancy pelosi with the
lgbtq historymaker award. speaker pelosi is one-of-a-kind. she is a true champion for equality and i am proud to call her my friend. i was in baghdad with the 82nd airborne division. 19 of my brothers never made it home. in my time in the army, over 13,000 of my brother and sister veterans were thrown out because of "don't ask, don't tell". it wasn't until the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" that we had true equality in our military. and our fight is not over. pelosi believes that you believe in equality or you don't and are willing to fight for it, or you are not. she is a fighter. it is my honor to present to her the 2020 lgbtq historymaker award, speaker nancy pelosi. ♪
you said it so well, many people contributed to the success. i was proud to be speaker, to orchestrate how we could get this done. we will talk more about that, but it was about time. it was about time, the blessings the blessings of having admiral mullen in the white the time had come. it was about valerie jarrett being there with president obama, without whom this would not have been done. year, we coulde deal with it. but without president obama's leadership, and joe biden right there with him, a leader on these issues in so many ways. murphy, to have patrick on the floor of the house and a veteran who served with many lgbtq colleagues in the military, and saw the injustice
of it all. he came and spoke with that authority. what heey frank, gosh, didn't say was that he was the one that got me on the phone and insisted, he was very generous in his comments, but the fact is that was essential that barney frank was such a part of that. bidenonored to have joe say such nice things. me thing he said that struck was that we respect the dignity and worth of all people. and that is why we love each other so much, because we have a shared values. there is no question in our mind that this is an injustice, and we have much more work to do, but i am humbled by the award, but again, because so many
people made it happen. but i am happy to accept it on behalf of all of them. courageous in their fields, pioneers, leaders, visionaries, cyndi lauper, i would like to thank her for her work on behalf of the lgbtq community, and i am glad she is here with us. , you madeobergefell so much happened in the courts that we could not do, and in the congress. kennedy, right away became chair of the transgender task force, a leader in this community and in the congress. and the chair of the veterans affairs committee.
but if you want to talk about how it happened -- no onen: madam speaker, could see you during all those remarks about the people you were talking about, but i could see you. and watching your reaction to what was being said tells me of all goods, things, all the accomplishments you have made in your two times as speaker of the house in your legislative career, it is fair "don't ask,epeal of don't tell" ranks in the top three? pelosi: the hate crimes legislation was largely attributed to barney frank, and so many other people as well. but today receiving this has because overancy,
, i found out that my nephew, schuyler, has found her happiness. meaning toecial skyler and this award has special meaning to me. thinking, not this year at the state of the union, but the year before, we had a large number of trends folks in uniform, and we encouraged everyone to invite folks to be visible at the stake of the union. we had a reception before, and back, and there might have been some anticipation of divine , that the president might show some respect, but he
didn't. we were all crying afterwards. so proud with all these rands gender members in uniform there. too,rd trumka was there head of the afl-cio, and he spoke of how he was so proud to be in a room with them, and what they meant to this country. it was very careful. again, it is very personal, emotional and personal. gunn teased us about the reception at his home and you gave inside details about how the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" happened. tell us. give us the inside skinny on what happened. thankr pelosi: let me claire lucas for her leadership,
her sol parker, i saw many times in houston and know of her great leadership. i thank them. here's the story, and many of is have heard it, but it salient right now, because in another few days, we are good to take up the national defense .ill again go back 10 years. at harveying, i was , and ibirthday party said, we have to get rid of "don't ask, don't tell" by christmas. i had thought a report might come out sooner, and i could , because heromise
had early on spoke out in favor of it. so we had patrick murphy's amendment on the floor, on which you worked so hard to repeal "don't ask, don't tell". the amendment to the national defense bill. said,o my members and i you made history today, you are making history today. they said yes, we repealed "don't ask, don't tell". not just that. in order for that to happen, you, my progressive friends, have to vote for the defense bill. we never voted for the defense bill. we voted for the appropriations bill, but we never voted for the defense bill.
so barney frank in the whole you to full array of progressives, of which i am one, i see they are not going to vote for the bill, the republicans are not going to vote for the bill. i can see it in their eyes. they are not what to vote for the bill. and they said, republicans always vote for the defense bill, they always do. they are not going to vote for the bill. 100%, we never vote for the defense, we have a perfect record. do me a favor, stand in the back of the room and watch. party, thecan defense bill, nine republicans yes.
that meant 186 no. and there they go. i said, there you go. aisle,te down the center a parade of progressives to go vote for the first time. and they voted for the defense bill, in order to protect patrick murphy's amendment. and without the executive branch, without president obama and joe and the commitment to values and equality and justice so then theyhouse,
didn't want to pass the bill, in the senate, this and that. so when bardi said that he came down to them taking the there was report, some unease on the part of some, so to comfort them, we said the only way we will pass the defense bill is if we have a commitment for an independent, stand-alone, freestanding bill with the essence of that legislation. bardi was on the phone with ney was on thear phone with harry, and he said, should we put it on the floor or not, and he fast tracked the stand-alone bill to repeal "don't ask, don't tell". , back and months forth and this and that, but the
time was long overdue to get it done. proud to be part of it, but there is no way i could accept this award without accepting it on behalf of the house democratic caucus chair was so courageous. i am blessed to represent san francisco. so that is how we got there, and barney was so instrumental, took the initiative because he had served, and we had white house involvement which, without that it would have been a complete nonstarter. . but also, the members of the committee that wrote the report deserve a lot of credit. pass theore to do to equality act. there is discrimination every place. we have so much more to do, but
we feel confident and proud because of the courage of so many people to repeal "don't ask, don't tell". speaker, iadam cannot believe it has been 10 years since the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" and since the heroic efforts made by you and members of the house and senate, and panelist we are about to talk to. madden speaker, i know you have got a lot of work to do, a lot of things are pressing for all of us in this country, but i want to thank you for your time, for your service, and congratulate you again on receiving the lgbtq historymaker award. speaker pelosi: thank you. i am honored to receive it. i thanked colonel pritzker. i think all of you, and it is an honor. good luck to you.
the members can take pride in the role they all played in this as wealth or you so much. jonathan: thank you. coming up are three people who were very involved in the story the speaker talked about, bringing "don't ask, don't tell" from a campaign promise to reality. these are three people i have ofked to, with the exception admiral mullen, but i talked to valerie jarrett at the time she was a senior advisor to the eric when i talked to he was behind the scenes pushing, pushing, pushing. i sent a message saying these are all my heroes, they all know it. i got a chance to tell admiral i thankhat years ago, you very much for what he did.
with that, they are all waiting. let me bring in the panel. aron belkin, valerie jarrett, admiral mullen, thank you all for being here this afternoon. valerie jarrett, i will talk to you as a senior advisor to the president. the floor is yours for your opening statement. jarret: thank you, jonathan . the only time in eight years that i actually went to the hill for a vote was for the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" in the senate. i remember being surrounded by so many of the advocates who had been working on this tirelessly for many years, preceding president obama's time in office. but this was a campaign promise
president obama made, and from day one, he went about the business of length the foundation for this effort. those watching will remember that he turned up the heat for , that the president on his own unilaterally should stop discriminating against people in the military who were openly gay. president obama didn't want to do something that violated the authority of his office, he wanted to make sure the military was on board and that it passed through the congress, so that we would never have to cross this road again. that took a lot of time and effort. bondi, whod by brian was responded for -- responsible for lgbtq outreach. this was so important. the reason why i wanted to be on the hill was because i had been so touched by the stories of
those who were serving in the military and had to hide who they were. i had people come to the white house out of uniform and share those stories with me. one woman talked about the fact she couldn't display a photograph of her partner on her desk. she had to basically lie about who she was. another woman told me about teaching ethics at west point, which was her job. and she said, how do i teach my ethics to our men and women in the military when i am living a lie? on anse stories i heard ongoing basis, thanks to brian putting these people into the white house so that they could share the impact the law was having on them, inspired me and moved me deeply. and we were catching a lot of of the funny
stories was at the ceremony where the president actually signed the repeal. brian, in his mischievous spirit, set me next to the people who had been most vocal criticizing it, there were tears all around, and i think it is a template for how government and addressee groups try to right wrongs, move the arc of the universe to moral justice. and the day "don't ask, don't tell" passed the senate was the same day the trade max failed. my team at been working on both. president obama went to my office and said to everyone, people shedding tears of joy and tears of sorrow, and he said we have to be inspired by what happened on "don't ask, don't tell". do not give up the fight. it is a fight that is long and arduous and painful, but it is so worth it. i would like to give a shout out to admiral mullen. admiral, i was in my office when
you testified on the hill in 2010, and i will never forget you made it personal. you were chairman of the joint chiefs, but you made your wearks personal to say that can't ask this of those who serve, ask them to live a life, and that you -- live a lie, and that you believe the military would rise to this occasion to treating people who were openly gay equally among membership. this is a long process we went through to enact this law, which required consultations, surveys, reports from the military, and it is why it is such a successful law, not on the books, but in practice. anathan: thanks, valerie, great segue to my first true military hero, admiral mullen. the floor is yours. thanks,mullen: jonathan. and thanks valerie, for the
comments. it is interesting sitting on a panel like this. we think we know what is going on and everybody else's area, and that is not the case. listening to speaker pelosi, mecial leader, if you know where i am, knowing a high level that this wasn't going to be easy per but it was my expectation she was going to figure out how to get it done. i wasn't into any of those details. and she did. i would like to thank her and your leadership, and congratulations to her for the award. i would like to thank pat murphy. pat murphy is someone i was connected to early on when he was in congress. and he was a voice for this. every time he had an opportunity to present and discuss it. thank you to president obama. obama, then-candidate and i am chairman, saying
basically this was something that he was go to get across the goal line. that got my attention. i actually started to review and study it over two years. this was not easy to put together, as you can imagine, inside the pentagon. and going for that to getting to a point where it was possible was extraordinary. and i did a lot of my own sensing, if you will, with focus groups around the world. we shouldn't forget we were in war in iraq and afghanistan at the time. from my perspective, one of the ways i said it was, i couldn't get anybody under 30 years old to actually be overly concerned about the issue. young people make up the vast majority of the military, but wanted to talk about other things of their concern, not this. and in the focus groups i did with those who had retired and
discharged, about living a lie every day they were in uniform, those were the ones that really moved me in the end. plaudits forf courage the day i testified. actually, i didn't see it as courageous at all. it was an issue of integrity. that was core to me, it is core to the military, and testifying in that regard was really pretty simple. and i found that actually changed the terms of reference for the debate that set us on a path that eventually would allow passage of the bill. one other individual i engaged a lot with who is no longer with us, but was a dear friend, extraordinary woman who supported national security ellen, forever, was who sadly passed away. i remember conversations with
ellen about how out of touch i was and the military vis-a-vis's the american people. there were a lot of people to make this happen, and it was a privilege to be part of it. jonathan: thank you, admiral mullen. aron belkin, your opening statement. ron: nancy pelosi was my congresswoman in san francisco 30 years ago when i came out of the closet, and she has been my guardian angel. my whole professional career, she has been right there for me personally, and for the committee. i am honored to share the stage with her, and with you, jonathan, whose editorials were so important during the repeal process and the end game. you were as much a part of this as anyone we are talking about
today. of course the distinguished panelists admiral mullen and valerie jarrett. during the repeal 10 years ago, i was watching the senate vote on cnn and i broke down crying. i guess we will talk about tears today, a few of us, and it was embarrassing to cry at that point, but i think there are three reasons why the tears were flowing. one of those was because i was so happy, but also mindful of the incredible suffering gay and bisexual troops had suffered as reallyt of policies, going back to 1919 and the revision of the articles of war. servicemembers were murdered for being gay, service members who and knewally assaulted
they would be fired from the military. i was mindful of that suffering and think it is important to note that today. the second reason the tears were flowing at that time was that there were so many advocates who had been working for so many decades, some behind the scenes and some not find the scenes, people like greta cam kammemeyer and michelle kennedy, the legal defense network, i was standing on the shoulders of giants who had been serving for decades and decades towards equality. stakes, and all of us during the conversation of the "don't ask, don't tell" repeal or mindful of the impact on the military and on the service members. but for me, it was not even it wasgbtq equality,
really about america and what it means for citizenship when the government lies, and lies in order to skate goat -- in order o skate go -- in order to skapegoat a group of people. it felt to me as a moment when america was reaching its potential as a society, but also the skapegoating. thanks, dr. belkin. cried one who has national television, don't ever worry about it. let the tears flow. i want to open this to q and a. your speech to the
senate armed services committee was february 2, 2010, and you "i am speaking personally." "i can't escape the fact we have a policy that forces young men and women to lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens." during my reporting, i learned that you kept your remarks on close hold, and that you wrote them that morning at the kitchen table. i am wondering, why did you feel it was so important at that to say, in that moment, something so personal? to your point about the reaction and what that meant, saying words that really did change the trajectory of the project you were about to undertake.
admiral mullen: i may have been editing at the kitchen table in the morning, but i am not sure i wrote the whole thing. normally, i shared every thing i serviceg with my fellow leaders. they were not happy with my testimony. it was guaranteed to leak ahead of time, and i did not want to take that moment away, if i could preserve it, first of all. i recognized a long, go that those hearings, that is not my stage, that is the members' stage. what i chose to do, which was against the norm, was to make that statement in my opening statement, before it could get by agured, in a way, member with a different slant or different meaning. so i wanted to get it out there, and i mentioned early in my remarks about the integrity issue. so there were not a lot of
people, the white house had actually seen it, but i got no feedback at that point because it was already moving pretty quickly. i knew a senator was going to ask about my personal opinion and i wanted to get it out before the debate started, up on the stage, if you will, that was the hearing. at thatdicated earlier, point, it really wasn't a courageous statement for me, because it was based on our core value of integrity. andfrom that moment on, prior to that come the debate had been too often about sex, sexual orientation -- from that moment on, no one who opposed this ever took on that issue of integrity, not even john, who i had sat with in his office, the two of us with one of his staffers, six months before that, and he asked me about
this. i raised the issue of integrity and mccain was sort of startled, because integrity is so core to him as an individual. and even though he continued to oppose it after i testified, that was an issue he absolutely never took on. valerie talked, about the import of what admiral mullen said in his testimony at the senate armed services committee. from your vantage point, what did that mean for what you were doing? wouldsor belkin: i respectfully disagree without role mullen that that was not a courageous statement. that was stark, and it was so great. and it was the first time the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff had spoken in such terms about gay, lesbian and bisexual service members in an inclusive way. it changed the entire conversation.
and i remember exactly where i was, i was in greenland at the naval postgraduate school and was giving a talk on "don't ask, don't tell" and military readiness. people in the room were stunned as they were watching this. senior uniformed officers at the naval postgraduate school, the naval postwar college -- the naval war college, and what the statement meant was that moving forward through the rest of the repeal conversation, you really couldn't make the argument with a straight face that "don't ask, don't tell" was good for the military. people try to make that argument, but the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff had just said that that wasn't right. that was frankly the day that we want, even though a lot of people, valerie jarrett, president obama, faced a lot of difficult effort and elbow grease. but that really was the day we won, when admiral mullen made those great remarks.
jonathan: let's talk more about all ofnt obama's role in this. you mentioned there were not a lot of people who were -- there were a lot of people who were not happy with the president and the administration in terms of in a clear process that would take time. they thought it wasn't moving fast enough. gave a speecha telling activists to "make me do it" to give him leverage. to what extent did president obama need that leverage? jarrett: not only for "don't ask, don't tell" but he needed it for the entire agenda. he started his career as a community organizer in chicago and believed in the power of activist people, and that they
have to show those who represent them that they care about an issue. and that energy coming from the ground helped propel everything forward, not just this, but everything forward. i remember late in the process when advocates were particularly annoyed with us, brian was supposed to have a meeting in the executive office building next to the west wing and they came to my office and said, will you do me a favor, join me in the meeting because they no longer believe me when i tell them president obama is committed to this? i said sure, i will come. i was meeting with president anda just prior to that, told him i was meeting with activists who are upset you haven't yet pushed your legislation to repeal "don't ask, don't tell" and he said, i will meet with them. everybody came over from omb and saturn on the table in the roosevelt room and i remember
him looking each of them in the eye and he said, i commit to each of you, i have a strategy to get this done. all the hard work admiral mullen had done in the military, he recognized he owed them that accountability when they could look at the president of the united states, the leader of the free world that he could say to them, i am going to get this done. that accountability is so important for those who serve in public life. to that point,, can you talk about what lessons we learned about american politics? politics, fromq the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell"? belkin: first of all, that facts matter. and there was a lot of pressure on us in the community to not talk about the way "don't ask, don't tell" was undermining
military readiness and instead talk about fairness and equality. this is tenure before the events we are talking about today, the early stages of the conversation. we have to no, engage the folks who are supporting discrimination on their own terms. and they are saying gays and lesbians undermine the military, we will study that, look into that and figure out the research. the first thing i would tell you is that facts matter and it is very important that policy be based on evidence. the second thing i would say is support gaysle who military,ns in the and we haven't spoken about transgender yet, but they were exactly right in positing that members were allowed in the military, that would open
up other things, such as marriage equality. the marker of a first-class citizen is always whether someone can serve in the military or not. the second important lesson of this is that service in the military is so important as a marker of citizenship. toathan: admiral mullen, aaron was talking about in terms of transgender service members, at the time of the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell", there was a lot of talk in the military that skies would fall if they were openly serving, gay men and lesbians. as we have seen with the current administration, transgender service members are still at risk. i am wondering from your vantage point, how much more difficult is it going to be for the military, or i should say for incoming president biden, to make transgender service members
and allow them also to serve freely in the military without retribution or losing the jobs they love. admiral mullen: i know there is a town of work going on behind making this happen. and one of the things i am so appreciative of, of her and the president, was how much patience they showed. i needed that patients to get the military leadership on board. and i didn't know details, but i knew he was getting hammered by the left, hard. they didn't think we were going to let it happen, first of all, and secondly, they wanted it now. so that patients, that leadership valerie describes, was absolutely critical to getting this done. and it was very obvious to me and other senior leaders.
after the trump administration came in that i get a phone call from my good , saying, will you now get engaged on the transgender issue? terms ofk at myself in what i understand. and while i knew a fair amount of gays and lesbians just because of my life, the transgender world was not a world i knew a lot about. really dosaying facts matter and understanding the reality as opposed to the rhetoric that is oftentimes used to scare people off, is really critical. but i am in the same place. you should be allowed to serve your nation. unless you are ineligible for some reason, and this should not be a reason. somebody who wants to raise their hand and be willing to die for their country, it should not matter what their background is. and in that regard, if i looked
at execution of "don't ask, don't tell" and eliminating "don't ask, don't tell", a friend of mine in the british military, they had gone through this about 10 years before, and he said there was a great kerfuffle. after it got past, it was a nothing sandwich. it has been basically that for us. my expectation is president-elect biden, or president biden, comes in, that it will be relatively easy to get this straight to protect transgender personnel in the military. be that the military will very supportive of that, if that is what the president wants. do you shareon, the admiral's optimism? belkin: the
transgender band was listed in 2016 and what followed was 2.5 years of inclusive policy for trans troops. we know it was successful, because the chairman of the then,chiefs of staff army chief of staff mark milley, testified in the senate. the other chiefs testified that there were zero problems with inclusive policy. the next administration came in and then implemented a new ban on transgender service members, even though the inclusive policy was working. ban has shows that undermined military readiness. colleaguesroud of my . the former military surgeons general just released a report showing that the band has been undermining military readiness. for that reason, president-elect biden pledged that on day one, he will order the defense department to reinstate the
inclusive policy for transgender troops, a policy that worked before and that will work again. and i have every reason to believe him and take him at his word that he will reinstate the inclusive policy. when you guysrie, came to the white house, president obama and vice theident biden, administration began and the repealing of "don't ask, don't tell" was a campaign promise. you had an economy in freefall, the auto industry falling apart, and the horizon golf thing blew up. [laughter] it seemed every month there was a new calamity confronting this new administration. givenere ever any thought to putting the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" to the side, did not even deal with it in the first year, first term?
jarrett: absolutely not. one of the strength's of president obama was his ability to multitask. with an move forward international agenda by organizing ourselves around those issues. and the people who were working on the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" were not the same people working on restoring our economy, or any of the other items, the affordable care act, getting out of two wars. we had a lot of business going on at the same time and we organized ourselves accordingly. so no, there was not a single consideration of taking this off the table, and for other reasons we have been talking about, jonathan, and that is that this speaks to the core values of our country. we want to have the best military in the world, we have to lead by example and to be as admiraland not,
do things that do not pertain to our ability to have that best military be factors. so this was a core value issue. it was important to thank goodness we had leadership in the house. we had speaker pelosi and everyone in her caucus. we did not have to trade off the core values of our agenda. there were those in the senate who stood up and did the right thing as well. it was impossible to do without the leadership of admiral mullen.
i try to remind people, the average age of any military unit is 21. been young people have living in a more equal world. filing thatmes the some of us older people get in the way. there is no question. it has been this way through history. what the president says matters. those words really mattered. no the length of time that any devalues our values. that is significant. to the contrary. it undermines our basic
foundation. integrity, equality. huge't think that has a impact. i think the military will bounce back. >> i have been concerned about the politicization of the military. the language used in front of military audiences. tweets,uestion of those what was so dangerous about them theym my perspective, was proceeded a move that was done. the whole push for that policy of discrimination was really
about animus and intolerance. there was a veneer that was put on top of that. the reason we have to discriminate is because these troops undermine the military. making athe president comment about military readiness that was grounded in animus. that is very dangerous. when leaders and policymakers don't tell the truth. seejarrett: how much do you don't ask don't tell as your legacy? know that myyou commitment to diversity,
inclusion has been what has driven me in my public service. this is really important to me. i want to emphasize that it is important to our country. for the strength of our military. and those core values of our country. that is most important. we have changed that lies ahead. we are not done. we still have many examples of injustice. andd on gender identity sexual orientation. people with disabilities. instrumental is this is a roadmap for how to change habits. advocates recognize their power.
they do not give up. for those who fought the battle knowing that they had already been discharged and would not necessarily benefit, but they realized they could help. whatf that is part of makes the foundation of our democracy. it is why we need to have leaders to serve all of the country. that just some of the country. just some of the country. fighting for those core values takes hard work. 100th celebrating the anniversary of white women having the right to vote this year. it took decades longer for black
women to vote. when president obama took office, marriage equality was not the consensus. but by the time the supreme court ruled, it was legal in 37 states and the district of columbia. that is how change happens. ms. jarrett: you said several times in our conversation that you did asview what courageous at all. wonder, where does the successful repeal of don't ask , and your accomplishments. how important is it to your legacy? i think it is more important that i understood at
the time. when i first took the job under president bush, one of my immediate staff assistance said you really need to be thinking about this. i looked at her and i said, i am not interested in my legacy. it will be what it will be. that is oftentimes counterintuitive in washington. i did not have time to think about that. my public affairs officer at that time, that night, after i testified, he said this was what you will be most remembered for. i suppose that really is true. not that i was trying to gain that. it was a great privilege and a great opportunity. obviously it has made a huge difference. i did not understand at the time.
inequality finally ending. linkuld provide another for the chain downstream to be put together. jonathan: your work is ongoing. i don't have a legacy question for you. point, inour vantage terms of this ongoing fight for lgbtq equality, where are we now? we are celebrating the 10th anniversary of the repeal of don't ask don't tell. where is the next battle? or the battle being waged now? i want to briefly
touch on the question of legacy. i return to west point and the air force academy almost every year. repealed i could actually meet with the cadets and students themselves. now when you have those meetings , theyroups of students don't even know about don't ask, don't tell. when that happens, i say, that is what everyone was fighting for. you don't have to worry about discrimination.
hiding or anything like that. they don't carry the burden of discrimination. in the military, president-elect biden will reinstate inclusive policy for transgender troops. to be done.ll work to offer surgery for transgender veterans. there will be a complicated conversation over transition related surgery for family members, independence who get ependents who get health care through the military.
the struggles of what lay ahead are intersectional. working across lines of class, ethnicity, ability. to work as americans to lift us all. question one more before our final thoughts. given the political environment wherein right now, how concerned of --u that the rights that the community is pushing , that they will not be achieved because gridlock has become so intense? they are really putting the lock in gridlock. nothing will happen. how concerned are you that nothing will move? no matter how hard that the biden administration pushes?
i am most: what concerned about is gridlock in congress. and in the courts. the courts will be working very rights.rollback we have a little time left for closing statements. anm giving you each opportunity to give final thoughts before we close out this great discussion. a moment that i .hink he was in tears on national television. there is such a human dimension to this. , the after i retired following october, i was asked
to go to an event in new york that many wanted to say thanks. i needed some time to rest and time with my family. , i agreed to do it. we went to new york. celebrationyous a as i have ever seen in my life. there was a freedom aspect of it. what one leader told me was, what you don't understand is you are in so many of these people's lives. the first person in authority in their life that has ever said is ok.
and acknowledges them. that was jarring to me that that was part of it. and they wanted to say thank you for that. there was a world war ii veteran ,ho came up to me, who was gay and had fought in world war ii and was heroic. he looked at me, grabbed me by the shoulders, and said he could not thank me enough. he had been waiting his whole life to be acknowledged for who he was. i will never forget that. i am chilled hearing that story. thank you for sharing it. jarrett, your closing thought? after thet: the year
department defense had a k pride celebration of the pentagon. celebration of the pentagon. something that would've been unheard of. i remember as i walked to the podium, i started looking around at the audience. several of the people who it come to the white house to advocate to repeal the law were sitting there. was so moved to tears. we had changed their lives and the lives of so many americans. that was over. the fact that now we would have future generations who have no idea what we are talking about
when we talk about discrimination in the military. i will never forget that day. they all kind of winked at me. they were probably being who they are. while making a sacrifice for our country. is what we have to fight for. we cannot take it for granted. jonathan: the founding director of the palm center. a great resource. your closing thought? been then: it has honor of a lifetime to work for towardt 21 years
inclusive policy for lgbtq service members. it has been the honor of a lifetime to serve on this panel and celebrate history. with such distinguished panelists. mindful of the sacrifices that lgbtq service members have made to their country. -- advocacy is in the library. it is not difficult to do that. in 1965ink about a man who was parading in front of the white house with a sign that said, homosexuals serve in the military. the only way my colleague could become an admiral was to pretend to be straight.
he would take someone who he would pretend to be his girlfriend to former military occasions. all i feel that this point is gratitude. and hopefulness. extend the rights of gay and lesbian service members. and we will move forward from there. jonathan: i want to and by saying what i said at the beginning. when i was asked to do this panel, seeing who was on the be part of this, i said, these are all of my heroes. thank you very much for being
here this afternoon. for your service to our country. most importantly, for all of the and you did both publicly behind the scenes to bring this country closer to living out its ideals. thank you very much. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2021] join us tomorrow for opening day of the 117th congress. live coverage starts in the morning. at noon, the house and senate gaveled into session. the vote for the next speaker is 1:15 p.m. eastern. watch our live, all-day coverage .
listen on the free radio app. night, the executive director of the national rural education association talks about the coronavirus has affected rural schools. many are online, leading to connectivity issues. >> the parking lot of the school or library or restaurant areas is really one of the ways communities are helping. we did have some flexibility that allow that. even when the building was closed. there are other innovative solutions. a school in virginia has wireless on wheels. 22 solarcreating wireless hotspots. it will connect up to five devices.
there has been innovation across the board. how they are connecting students with hot spots. they are finding a way to make it work. >> monday night at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span two. michigan governor gretchen whitmer talks about her role in leading the state during the 2020 election and covid-19 pandemic. politico hosts this event. i want to start with the role of governors in 2020. you are only a year into your first term when covid it. this, 2020 has thrown governors into the national spotlight in significant ways, from fighting the pandemic to climbing out of a recession.