On Monday, Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly joined Jay Leno for an interview on The Tonight Show. Leno began by asking O’Reilly about his feelings on Lieutenant Dan Choi, who was dismissed from the National Guard in June because he came out as a gay man on national television. Under the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) policy, openly gay men and women cannot serve in the armed forces. O’Reilly made his feelings clear:
LENO: I don’t know if you heard the thing I was mentioning, it actually made me angry. That kid, the West Point kid [Dan Choi], what’s your take on that?
O’REILLY: Well I don’t get it. President Obama has the power to stop this Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell business. Just sign an executive order. I don’t know why it’s taking so long.
LENO: And to me, doesn’t it cost like $300,000 to send a kid to West Point? He speaks Arabic…Anybody that’s willing to take a bullet for me is OK in my book.
O’REILLY: Yeah, but $300,000 to the government – that’s like $0.30, you know what I mean? So, they don’t care about cost. But, look, it’s just not fair, we should stop this nonsense.
O’Reilly, who seemed to be comfortable with continuing DADT in February, appears to have opened his mind on the issue just as large numbers of military officers and veterans have come out against the policy. As Dan Savage points out, O’Reilly’s new position places him “to the left of President Obama on DADT.” Obama, who campaigned on ending DADT, could issue an executive order suspending DADT anytime. (HT: Balloon Juice)
Libertarian Fox News contributor John Stossel, writing on the conservative website Human Events, voiced his opposition to DADT today. “Just as I see no reason why gays should not be free to marry,” he writes, “I see no reason why they shouldn’t be free to be in the military.”