Politics

Joint Chiefs Of Staff: No Change In Military Trans Policy

| by Michael Allen
Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph DunfordJoint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford

President Donald Trump's order, announced on Twitter on July 26, to ban transgender people from the military has not gone into effect.

"US Joint Chiefs of Staff tells military there will be no modification to transgender policy until direction received from Pres," Reuters reporter Idrees Ali tweeted on July 27.

Ali also tweeted that Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, had sent out a letter on the issue: "In the meantime, we will continue to treat all of our personnel with respect."

Trump reportedly issued the ban on transgender military troops because House Republicans were fighting over a spending bill that included transgender sex reassignment surgery and funding for Trump's U.S.-Mexico border wall, according to Politico.

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Despite his many promises to have Mexico pay for the border wall, Trump reportedly banned transgender service members so U.S. taxpayers could pay for the wall.

In more military news, Adm. Scott H. Swift, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, was asked hypothetically at the Australian National University in Canberra if he would fire nuclear weapons at China if ordered to do so by Trump, notes The New York Times.

"The answer would be yes," Swift said. "Every member of the U.S. military has sworn an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic and to obey the officers and the president of the United States as the commander in chief appointed over us."

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In response, Capt. Charlie Brown, a spokesman for the U.S. Pacific Fleet, called a nuclear attack against China "ridiculous," and added that Smith had not brought up the topic, which had already been established.

"Perhaps he more forcefully could have refuted the hypothetical," Brown stated. "He was trying to find an opportunity to use it to deliver a message on something positive, and that was the answer he gave on civilian control."

Rory Medcalf, the head of the National Security College who hosted the talk, also rushed to defend Swift's comments: "Admiral Swift answered the question the only way a serving military officer could. It would have been a lot more controversial if he had said, no, he would not obey the commander in chief."

David Brooks, a conservative columnist for The New York Times, questioned the commander in chief's mental coherence based on a recent interview Trump did with the newspaper.

Brooks shared his opinion on PBS on July 21:

One, I was shocked by the lack of just articulateness. We all hate it when we read a transcript of ourselves. It's always embarrassing, but not that embarrassing. These really are random -- they’re not even thoughts. They’re just little word patterns, one following another, about Napoleon, about this and that. It's a disturbing level of incoherent thinking.

Sources: Idrees Ali/Twitter (2), Politico, The New York Times, PBS / Photo credit: United States Department of Defense/Wikimedia Commons, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff/Flickr, Ted Eytan/Flickr

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