White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said on Wednesday that First Lady Michelle Obama “brilliantly” handled a lesbian heckler who called for an LGBT workplace non-discrimination executive order.
Carney made the remark in response to a question from CBS News’ Mark Knoller, who asked Carney if he had spoken to the President about the incident. Carney says he has not yet spoken to Obama about the issue but offered his own views.
“I haven’t asked the President that, but it’s my personal opinion that she handled it brilliantly,” Carney said.
Under previous questioning from the Chicago Tribune, Carney pointed to comments he made in the previous day’s briefing on the executive order, reiterating that the White House prefers a legislative path to addressing LGBT workplace discrimination.
“I’ve addressed this many times, but we do believe that that’s the right way to go,” Carney said. “It was the right way to go with ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ and the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ and we believe this is the right way to go strategically. And that’s why we’re working with Chairman Harkin and others and pushing for this legislatively.”
Carney’s remarks come a day after lesbian activist Ellen Sturtz, who is affiliated with GetEQUAL, shouted out to Michelle Obama, during a Democratic National Committee fundraiser at a private residence in Washington D.C. for an update on the president’s action to combat LGBT workplace discrimination.
A transcript of the exchange follows:
CHICAGO TRIBUNE: The First Lady, at an event last night, was confronted by a protestor who was asking about the executive order for federal contractors, and I’m just wondering if you could explain again why the President hasn’t signed the executive order.
CARNEY: Well, I did yesterday, so I could point you to what I said yesterday. The President fully supports a legislative effort, a bill called ENDA, on this matter. And again, I would just point you to what I said yesterday.
CHICAGO TRIBUNE The legislative effort doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. Given what you know about how Congress is moving things, I think it’s unlikely to move. So I’m just wondering what is the —
CARNEY: I think that assessment is made frequently about difficult propositions, but that does not mean we should not support it and it does not mean that it won’t come to pass.
CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Is there some reason you think it should be a legislative effort and not an executive order?
CARNEY: Again, I’ve addressed this many times, but we do believe that that’s the right way to go. It was the right way to go with “don’t ask, don’t tell” and the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” and we believe this is the right way to go strategically. And that’s why we’re working with Chairman Harkin and others and pushing for this legislatively.
CBS News: Jay, if I could follow up on that — any chance you asked the President what he thinks of the way Mrs. Obama responded to a heckler last evening?
CARNEY: I haven’t asked the President that, but it’s my personal opinion that she handled it brilliantly.