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Trump Bans Transgender Americans From Military Service


Updated with statements, tweets, and comments from Senators John McCain, Orin Hatch, and Joni Ernst, respectively. Tweet from Kevin Baron was also added.

In a series of tweets this morning, President Trump announced via Twitter that transgender Americans will not be allowed to serve in the United States military.

In the unexpected announcement, Trump framed his decision around the needs of transgender people, claiming they were burdensome.

This decision, though, also conflicts with his promise during the 2016 presidential campaign, to fight for the LGBT community.

Despite Trump’s claim that he consulted with “Generals and military experts,” Jim Sciutto tweeted that, per Barbara Starr, the “Pentagon ‘didn’t know anything about’ POTUS transgender ban decision.”

Later, Kevin Baron reported via Twitter that the White House “has no plan yet to carry out transgender ban.”

Following Trump’s announcement, Chelsea Manning took to twitter to criticize the policy, calling it “cowardice.”

Former Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, who served under President Obama, issued a statement on the policy and with regard to current transgender soldiers and a younger generation, stating:

Quality people in uniform are what make our military the finest fighting force the world has ever seen. I contunue to maintain that what matters in choosing those who serve is that they are best qualified. To choose service members on other grounds than military qualificaitons is social policy and has no place in our military. There are already transgender individuals who are serving capably and honorably . This action would also send the wrong signal to a younger generation thinking about military service.

On June 30, 2016, during Obama’s second term, Carter announced a plan allowing transgender individuals to serve openly in the military. Trump’s policy reverses that decision.

Some Republicans have come out in opposition to Trump’s banning of transgender individuals.

Senator John McCain (R-AZ), the Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, released a statement saying that the matter was an “example of why major policy announcements should not be made via Twitter.” He questioned the clarity of the policy announcement, acknowledging as Carter did, that “The Department of Defense has already decided to allow currently-serving transgender individuals to stay in the military, and many are serving honorably today.” He further stated that:

Any American who meets current medical and readiness standards should be allowed to continue serving. There is no reason to force service members who are able to fight, train, and deploy to leave the military—regardless of their gender identity. We should all be guided by the principle that any American who wants to serve our country and is able to meet the standards should have the opportunity to do so—and should be treated as the patriots they are.

McCain pointed out that the Department of Defense is conducting a study to answer questions about gender reassignment surgery and said he does not “believe that any new policy decision is appropriate until that study is complete and thoroughly reviewed by the Secretary of Defense, our military leadership, and the Congress.”

Senator Orin Hatch (R-Utah) also tweeted his opposition to discrimination against anyone.

And Senator Joni Ernst’s (R-IA) spokeswoman told the Des Moines Register via email that:

She believes what is most important is making sure service members can meet the physical training standards, and the willingness to defend our freedoms and way of life…While she believes taxpayers shouldn’t cover the costs associated with a gender reassignment surgery, Americans who are qualified and can meet the standards to serve in the military should be afforded that opportunity.

We will update the story as more information comes in.

Written by David Grossman

David Grossman is a Managing Editor of Progressive Army and a member of its Editorial Board. Follow him on Twitter @JustDKG.

Free thinker, Progressive activist, artist.

Producer of The Benjamin Dixon Show, which airs Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday at 9pm ET, and Wednesdays at 8pm ET on YouTube.

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Trump Bans Transgender Americans From Military Service