President Trump on Wednesday said he would ban transgender people from any military service.
Trump made the announcement, which would represent a major shift in military policy, on Twitter. He said he had made the decision after consulting with “my generals and military experts.””After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military,” Trump tweeted.
“Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you”
Trump made the surprise announcement with Defense Secretary James Mattis on vacation, stoking speculation about the Pentagon’s level of involvement in Trump’s decision.It wasn’t immediately clear what Trump’s announcement would mean for the approximately 250 transgender people now serving openly in the U.S. military.
A Pentagon spokesman referred all questions about Trump’s statements to the White House.“We will continue to work closely with the White House to address the new guidance provided by the Commander-in-Chief on transgender individuals serving the military,” Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said. “We will provide revised guidance to the Department in the near future.”
A staffer for the House Armed Services Committee said Wednesday on background it was surprised by Trump’s announcement and is waiting for more information.The committee declined to provide a statement from Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas).
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), whose son is transgender, immediately slammed the decision.
“No American, no matter their sexual orientation or gender identity, should be prohibited from honor + privilege of serving our nation #LGBT,” she tweeted.
But conservatives who have been pushing for the ban to be reinstated applauded Trump’s announcement.
“President Trump’s decision today to rescind Obama’s transgender military policy has the best interests of the military in mind, and I thank him for taking this decisive action,” Rep. Vicky Jo Hartzler (R-Mo.) sid in a statement.Trump’s decision is a gesture to the conservative base at a time when he’s facing declining poll numbers and increasing pressure over the Russia investigation.
Trump made the announcement, which would represent a major shift in military policy, on Twitter. He said he had made the decision after consulting with “my generals and military experts.”
He also criticized North Carolina’s controversial “bathroom law,” saying in an April 2016 interview that the state was “paying a big price” for the policy and that transgender individuals should use whatever bathroom they want.
But Trump also blasted “political correctness” when asked during an October town hall about “social engineering” in the military. The questioner, a veteran, included open service by transgender troops among his concerns.
“We’re going to get away from political correctness,” Trump told the questioner. “Some of things that they’re asking you to do and be politically correct about are ridiculous.”The Obama administration lifted the ban on allowing transgender troops to serve openly last year.
Under the policy set by then-Defense Secretary Ash Carter, transgender troops also receive coverage for any treatment deemed medically necessary by their doctors, including surgery and hormone therapy.
That step left a decision for Mattis to make on whether to allow new transgender troops to enter the military.Trump’s decision is a huge blow the LGBT community, which was just coming off a win after the surprising defeat of an amendment to the annual defense policy bill that would have banned Pentagon funding from being used for transition-related medical care.
But under the policy Carter crafted, transgender recruits weren’t allowed to enlist pending the end of a one-year implementation period.
Earlier this month, the House voted 209-214 against banning Pentagon funding from being used for transition-related care. Twenty-four Republicans joined with Democrats to defeat the amendment to the annual defense policy bill.
source-the hill, rebecca kheel, rebecca savransky, capt. jeff davis, vicky jo hartzler,