Hatch blasts ‘liberal groups’ for ‘misconstruing’ his position on DADT: ‘I certainly do not support repeal.’

Yesterday, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) surprised many by suggesting that he was open to repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT). Explaining that he saw both sides of the issue, Hatch told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell that he “believe[d] there are very outstanding, patriotic gay people who serve in the military. … And they shouldn’t have to lie about being gay.” When Mitchell asked whether he would vote for repeal, Hatch left the door open, saying, “Well I don’t know about that, I’d have to look at it.” His comments were quickly picked up by liberal and pro-gay rights blogs, leading some to speculate that this “significant development” meant there was more support for repealing DADT in the Senate than previously thought. But today, Hatch made clear that he does not support repeal and attacked “liberal groups” for “misconstruing” his position:

“It’s deeply regrettable that liberal groups are misconstruing my position on ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ for activist purposes. I certainly do not support repealing this policy,” Hatch’s statement on Thursday said. […]

“What I said was that I want to see Adm. Mullen’s report. This is a controversial issue with inflamed passions on both sides,” Hatch said.

“Over the years, the views of the military officers and experts, whom I respect, have said that repealing ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ would make life for our troops more difficult — especially as our armed forces wage a global war on terrorism,” Hatch said.