Politics

Trump Says Transgender People Not Allowed In Military

| by Michael Howard
Donald Trump in 2015Donald Trump in 2015

President Donald Trump announced July 26 that transgender individuals will no longer be able to serve in the U.S. military. Now, people are calling him a hypocrite because of the fact that he dodged the draft five different times and never served in the military.

"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," the president wrote on Twitter.

"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," he added.

The decision to ban transgender people upends the policy formulated in June 2016 by former President Barack Obama's administration, which allowed transgender troops to serve openly.

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"Americans who want to serve and can meet our standards should be afforded the opportunity to compete to do so," former Defense Secretary Ash Carter said at the time, according to Politico. Citing research indicating that there were already some 4,000 transgender people in the military, Carter said there would be "minimal readiness impacts from allowing transgender service members to serve openly."

Some people online have blasted the president for his decision and have pointed out that he himself deferred the draft five different times -- four because of college and one for "bad feet," according to The New York Times.

In June, Defense Secretary James Mattis said the Pentagon would hold off on implementing the Obama-era policy while military leaders weighed its potential effects. A Pentagon spokesperson said at the time that the Department of Defense was looking into the policy's impact on "the readiness and lethality of our forces."

It is not yet known how the new policy -- if and when it is implemented -- will affect the thousands of transgender individuals currently serving in the military.

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Democrats were quick to blast Trump's announcement on Twitter.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi wrote that the "decision to ban transgender Americans from the military is a vile attack on brave individuals defending our country," according to WRC.

The Democrats' leader in the Senate, Chuck Schumer, tweeted that transgender troops "are serving honorably in our military. We stand with these patriots."

Certain Republicans expressed reservations as well, with Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina telling WRC that he wanted an explanation from the generals responsible for the decision.

However, other Republicans, like Missouri Rep. Vicky Hartzler, lauded the new policy.

"I'm pleased to hear that President Trump shares my readiness and cost concerns, and I'm glad to hear the president will be changing this costly and damaging policy," Hartzler said in a statement. "Military service is a privilege, not a right. We must ensure all our precious defense dollars are used to strengthen our national defense. Now, we can focus on rebuilding our military and addressing the growing threats around the world."

Sources: Politico, The New York TimesWRC / Photo credit: Michael Vadon/Flickr, Chad J. McNeeley via Wikimedia Commons, US Army Africa/Flickr

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