Texas Gov. Rick Perry hasn’t commented on the incident involving a gay soldier who was booed during the last Republican presidential debate. But one of Perry’s prominent supporters in New Hampshire certainly has.
Perry backer and New Hampshire State Rep. Alfred Baldasaro, R-Londonderry, told ThinkProgress on Friday that he was “disgusted” by the gay soldier, Stephen Hill, who submitted a question to the debate via YouTube about “don’t ask, don’t tell.”
Baldasaro went on to say that “it was great” when members of the audience booed Hill. Here’s a full transcript from Scott Keyes at ThinkProgress:
KEYES: What did you make of that moment in the debate when they had the gay marine asking a question and there were a few in the audience who were booing him?
BALDASARO: I was so disgusted over that gay marine coming out, because when he came out of the closet. Bob won’t say it because they’re scared to get in trouble, but their brothers and sisters – brothers especially- that are there, they’ll start getting away from him. They’ll start ignoring him. He doesn’t realize it, but when the shit hits the fan, you want your brothers covering your back, not looking at your back.
KEYES: Did you have an issue with the audience reaction?
BALDASARO: Oh no, I thought the audience, when they booed the marine, I thought it was great.
On Tuesday, Baldasaro told the Union Leader that he stands behind his comments. But Baldasaro now claims he didn’t mean he was disgusted by the fact that Hill is gay, but rather by the fact that he appeared during a political event in an Army T-shirt. Baldasaro also stressed that he wasn’t speaking for Perry, adding that he was “speaking for myself as an American with a First Amendment right to free speech.”
Baldasaro also criticized reporters who’ve been covering his comments. “I wish they’d spend more time on jobs and the economy than what Al Baldasaro said,” he said. “They’re all looking for a story to make money for their papers.”
The Union Leader notes that four of the GOP presidential candidates — Rick Santorum, Jon Huntsman, Gary Johnson and Herman Cain – have condemned the booing of the gay soldier.
Although Perry’s campaign hasn’t commented on the incident, the governor has previously addressed the subject of gay soldiers.
The day Perry signed Texas’ constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage in 2005, the governor was asked what he would tell gay veterans returning from Iraq.
“Texans have made a decision about marriage, and if there is some other state that has a more lenient view than Texas, then maybe that’s a better place for them to live,” Perry responded.
Listen to audio of Baldasaro’s comments below.