President Trump touched off a firestorm Wednesday after tweeting that he wishes to prohibit transgender people from serving in the U.S. military in any capacity — citing advice from his “generals” and healthcare costs.
“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. 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.”
The presidents tweets came after Defense Secretary James Mattis said he would provide chiefs another six months to conduct a review to determine if allowing transgender individuals to enlist in the armed services will affect the readiness or lethality of the force. The deadline for this review was Dec. 1, 2017.
That is worse than dont ask dont tell The National Center for Transgender Equality stated in a statement. This is an appalling attack on our service members; it’s all about bigotry as opposed to military readiness, reason or science. It can’t stand and is indefensible.
The Family Research Council praised Trumps action.
I applaud President Trump for keeping his promise to return to priorities rather than continue the experimentation of the Obama era that has crippled our countries military, FRC President Tony Perkins said in a statement. The military can focus its efforts on preparing to fight and win wars rather than being used to advance the Obama social agenda.
Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, stated “we don’t need to be experimenting with the military. Plus there’s no reason to take on that kind of financial burden.”
But Trump himself tweeted during the campaign season that he would “fight” for the LGBTQ community while his opponent “Hillary (Clinton) brings in more people that will threaten your freedoms and beliefs.”
During his confirmation hearing in January, Mattis was asked if he believed that allowing LGBT Americans to serve in the military or women in combat would endanger the militarys lethality.
Frankly, senator, Ive never cared and that they go to bed with, Mattis testified.
Abbie Goldberg, professor of psychology at Clark University who has researched and written about the LGBTQ community, told Fox News nobody wins under Trumps plan.
Some people will not serve, which is a reduction to the military and the nation, Goldberg said. Others are going to serve, but not publicly, and they’ll be for sexual, physical and verbal abuse or discharge.
The Pentagon has refused to release any information on the amount of transgender troops serving. A RAND study found that there are another 1,500 to 4,000 from the reserves, and between 2,500 and 7,000 transgender service members in the active-duty military.
The study also found that allowing transgender people to serve in the military would have a “minimal impact” on the health care costs.
The Pentagon announced it would continue to work closely with the White House to tackle the new guidance given by the commander in chief on transgender individuals.
We will provide revised guidance to the Department in the not too distant future, Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis said in statement.
Trumps statement comes as lawmakers on Capitol Hill debate the current practice of requiring the Pentagon to pay for treatment for gender transition.
Missouri Republican Rep. Vicky Hartzler offered an amendment that would prohibit the Pentagon from spending money on transition surgeries or hormone treatment. Earlier this month, her amendment was narrowly defeated.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., known as Trumps decision a cruel and arbitrary decision designed to humiliate transgender Americans.
On this very day in 1948, President Harry Truman signed the executive order desegregating the U.S. military. Later, President Trump has chosen to unleash a hateful and vile agenda that will blindside thousands of patriotic Americans already serving with bravery and honor, she said.
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.,slammed the sudden statement and said anyone who is fit to serve in the military should be allowed to do so.
The presidents tweet this morning regarding transgender Americans in the military is still another example of important policy announcements shouldn’t be made via Twitter, McCain, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said.
Transgender service associates have been able to serve openly in the military since this past year, when former Defense Secretary Ash Carter ended the ban. Since Oct. 1, transgender troops have been able to get medical care and start formally changing their gender identifications from the Pentagon’s personnel system.
But Carter also gave the services until July 1 to develop policies to permit people already identifying as transgender to newly join the military, if they have been steady in their genders for 18 months, and meet medical, physical and other criteria.
“I continue to maintain that what matters in choosing those who serve is that they are best qualified,” Carter said in a statement. “To choose service members on other grounds than military qualifications 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.
Key concerns include whether currently enlisted troops have had medical or other issues that cause delays or problems with their ability to deploy or meet physical or other standards for their jobs. Military leaders also wanted to review how transgender troops are treated, if they’re discriminated against or if they have had disciplinary problems, the officials said. They were not authorized to discuss internal deliberations publicly, so spoke on condition of anonymity.
Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson, Christopher Carbone and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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