Pop culture figure Caitlyn Jenner has been asked by social media followers to respond to President Donald Trump's move to ban transgender people in the U.S military. In a series of tweets, the president said he would neither "accept or allow" transgender people to be a part of the military.
Jenner, 67, who is transgender, has long been a Trump supporter and has worked behind the scenes with members of the Trump team to bring about positive policy change for the LGBT community, according to The Mercury News. Jenner had previously insisted that Trump would be a champion of gay and transgender rights.
In February, Jenner expressed her displeasure with new Trump policy that reversed federal guidelines protecting transgender students from discrimination. In an interview with ABC's "The View," Jenner described the decision as a "disaster," noting that she thought the Republican party needed to catch up with the Democrats on social issues.
Trump surprised many with his impromptu release of the transgender ban on Twitter, as several commentators have expressed their surprise about the timing and strategy of the release.
Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona disagreed with Trump's decision to take official policy statements and present them in tweets, reports The New York Times.
"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 on July 26.
"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," he added.
The tweets came after debates over a funding package for the Pentagon and acted as a formal announcement of coming policy change.
The move acts as a reversal of former President Barack Obama's policies to integrate gay and transgender members of the military. Obama announced in 2016 that the military would accept openly transgender soldiers, but Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis put a six-month stall on transgender members in June 2017, citing ongoing studies about their effects on current troops, according to The New York Times.
Congress is currently debating a $700 billion funding package for the Pentagon, which Trump alluded to in his second tweet when he cited the "tremendous" medical costs.
Analysis of the funding package showed that health care costs would rise between 0.04 and 0.13 percent with the inclusion of transgender-specific treatment. The Pentagon is required to provide gender-reassignment surgery for transgender people in the military.
OutServe-SLDN, an advocacy group for LGBT military personnel, has said it will sue Trump for his decision.