Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. John McCain of Arizona blasted President Donald Trump for banning transgender people from the military.
"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," said McCain, CNN reports. "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 also criticized Trump's announcement of the policy on Twitter, calling it "unclear."
"The statement was unclear," McCain added. "The Department of Defense has already decided to allow currently-serving transgender individuals to stay in the military, and many are serving honorably today. Any American who meets current medical and readiness standards should be allowed to continue serving," he said in a statement.
"I do 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," added McCain, reports the New York Post.
His comments provoked mixed responses on social media.
Some were angry and criticized McCain.
"McCain needs to step down," wrote one individual on the New York Post's Facebook page. "He is no Republican. If he keeps going against his own party he should not be in office."
Others thought McCain's opinion was wrong.
"If you VOLUNTEER to join the military as a man, you need to be a man throughout your enlistment," argued another. "Do NOT expect the military to pay for your gender re-assignment surgeries. Military medicine is meant for those who have suffered mental or physical harm, illness or injury due to serving in the military i.e. PTSD, battle wounds... I as a tax payer do not want to have my taxes used to pay for your elective surgery and drugs, hormones, etc."
Others supported McCain's statements.
"Transgenders are already in the ranks," chimed in another. "The military is a parallel of society. Perhaps being open about everything is a better stance, suicides would lessen."
"Trump knows his base likes it when he trashes the LGBT community and decided to take the dignity of military service away from trans people to impress his fans," wrote one person on The Hill's website. "They're willing to risk their lives to protect our freedom, for God's sake. Trump needs to stop obsessing about their appearance and sexuality."