WOMEN

Rick Santorum Doesn’t Think Women Are Capable Of Serving On The Front Lines

This guy.

Rick Santorum, the former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania and one of the junior varsity GOP presidential candidates, said Tuesday he would be open to reversing the Pentagon’s decision to allow women to fight on the front lines during combat.

Santorum repeatedly hinted at the idea that women aren't capable of doing what has been seen as a man’s job during the GOP debate in Las Vegas.

“I would use the studies that were done that were ignored by this military that ... certain positions that were, frankly, not suitable,” he said.  

“They pushed a political agenda above what is in the best interest of the safety, security and effectiveness of our fighting units,” Santorum continued. “So I would go back to using what we should be doing -- which is putting forth people on those front line positions, who are best prepared to do the job, survive the job and come back home safely.”

When asked for clarity, Santorum’s response got even more sexist.

“I would change the policy to reflect what is the best interest of the people that we’re asking -- I’ve got a son who's going into the Air Force right now. As a father I want to make sure that if he’s out there on the front line -- and he may be a pilot flying an airplane -- I want to make sure that the person who’s responsible for his wing has the ability to do the job that they’re doing,” he said. “And if they don’t have the ability to do that job -- and we’re doing a social promotion -- as opposed to what’s best for the efficacy of our fighting force and the survival of our men and women, I’ll change that policy.”

Santorum has a history of saying awful things about women. There was the time he suggested women bring emotional, but not physical, strength to the table in combat situations. Or when he said rape victims should “make the best out of a bad situation” and not abort their rapist’s child.

For further context, here’s what he wrote about feminists in his 2005 book, It Takes a Family:

Radical feminists have been making the pitch that justice demands that men and women be given an equal opportunity to make it to the top in the workplace.

Former New York Gov. George Pataki was unenthused with Santorum’s position.

“This is America and we’ve made enormous progress,” Pataki said. “And I don’t care if you’re a man or a woman, I care if you’re good and capable of doing the job. … Don’t lower the criteria, don’t lower the standards. If a woman is capable of doing a man’s job, there is no reason why we should deny a patriot who wants to serve and help defend our country that right.”

Santorum countered by saying that this is exactly what he said the first time. He cited another study focusing on the Marine Corps that “begged the president not to move forward with this because people are gonna get killed.”

Pataki wasn’t impressed with the backtracking.

“What Rick said is very different than what he said initially which was he would reverse the policy that gave women, not the right, but the opportunity to serve in combat,” he said.

“To reverse that policy, to deny a woman who is prepared to risk her life to defend our freedom and is capable of doing everything a man can do is not the right thing for America in the 21st century,” Pataki added.

See the latest updates on the GOP debate here.

 

Also on HuffPost:

PHOTO GALLERY
Last GOP Debate Of 2015
CONVERSATIONS