POLITICS

Bob McDonnell criticizes Rick Santorum over comments about women in combat

Comment
Decrease Increase Text size

There’s a growing controversy between Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and Republican front-runner Rick Santorum over comments the candidate made about his concern with women serving in combat.

On Monday, Gov. Bob McDonnell criticized Santorum, who said he was concerned about expanding roles for women in the military.

"I think that could be a very compromising situation where people naturally may do things that may not be in the interest of the mission because of other types of emotions that are involved,” Santorum said. “I don't think that's in the best interest of men, women or the mission."

This follows an announcement Thursday that the Pentagon would start letting woman apply for 14,000 positions that would place them close to the front lines - something women have officially been barred from doing in the past.

"I just disagree with any sort of inference he might have made that somehow women are incapable of serving in the front lines or serving in combat positions,” McDonnell said.

While McDonnell has openly endorsed Mitt Romney for president, Santorum’s comments may have also hit close to home for the governor.

"I just didn't want people to think women aren't capable of doing the job and I’ve got first-hand experience in saying that," McDonnell remarked.

McDonnell recognized his daughter Jeanine’s Iraq war experience Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference in D.C. where he sat listening to Santorum’s competitor, Mitt Romney.

"She did a great job, was in some very risky situations yet endured and led and I’m proud of her, he said. "I just didn't want people to think women aren't capable of doing the job and I’ve got first-hand experience in saying that."

Woman’s groups are also striking back, including the executive director of the Service Woman’s Action Network who says, “It’s an insult to those who serve to accuse service members – either men or women – of lacking the professionalism and expertise to accomplish their missions while deployed.

Santorum denies he was suggesting woman are too “emotional” for combat, saying "It's just simply the emotions of men dealing with women in combat and not focusing on potentially on the mission instead of ... in protecting a natural instinct to protect someone who's a female,” he said.

According to the Department of Defense, 15 percent of the active duty military is comprised of women. .

Would you like to contribute to this story? Join the discussion.

Recommended For You
comments powered by Disqus