GOP presidential candidate and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee blasted President Barack Obama for nominating the first-ever openly gay U.S. Army Secretary.

"It’s clear President Obama is more interested in appeasing America’s homosexuals than honoring America’s heroes."

Mike Huckabee

Huckabee released a statement on Saturday that reads, “It’s clear President Obama is more interested in appeasing America’s homosexuals than honoring America’s heroes. Veterans suicide is out-of-control and military readiness is dangerously low, yet Obama is obsessed with pandering to liberal interest groups he’s nominated an openly gay civilian to run the Army. Homosexuality is not a job qualification. The U.S. military is designed to keep Americans safe and complete combat missions, not conduct social experiments.”

Obama’s nominee, Eric Fanning, has served as the undersecretary of the Army since June. Fanning has also been an Air Force secretary and helped build Defense Secretary Ash Carter’s team while overseeing daily activities in the office. His Pentagon biography describes his political experience - working in think-tanks and communications firms in Washington, D.C., and being a journalist for CBS News - and then holding high level civilian jobs in the Pentagon. Fanning has never served in the military.

The Army Secretary must be appointed from “civilian life”; military members must be out of active duty from in the military for at least five years in order to be eligible. Duties include recruiting, organizing, supplying, equipping, training, and servicing the Department of the Army as well as assigning duties to Army members and civilian personnel.

While many acknowledge that Fanning is qualified, some wonder if the fact that he's gay gave him a "leg up."

The military has undergone a number of changes under Obama's presidency, including the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, allowing women to serve on the front lines, and allowing transgenders to serve in the military. Some have criticized the president for lowering the standards of the military.