U.S. President Donald Trump caused a stir when he tweeted policy changes about transgender soldiers in the military July 26.
Since then, both the Pentagon and the White House have had to apprise the media about any potential shifts in legislation. Now, Slate reports that they give the president a 55 percent chance of being impeached.
Many in the Pentagon were caught off guard by the president's announcement, as Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis is on vacation and was not made aware of the coming tweets, according to Slate. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders also had to field questions from the media pool with little background information.
"That’s something that the Department of Defense and the White House will have to work together [on] as implementation takes place and is done so lawfully," Huckabee Sanders responded when asked if transgender soldiers would be pulled from the line of duty and sent home. When pressed further, she reiterated that the White House will coordinate with the Department of Defense.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff, including chairman General Joseph Dunford, were "blindsided" by the announcement from Trump, according to CNN. Dunford quickly made a statement that noted all transgender military members would remain in active duty until further determination was made. Dunford also alluded to the fact that Mattis was not notified by the president of the coming announcement.
"In the meantime, we will continue to treat all of our personnel with respect," Dunford wrote in a memo to military members. "As importantly, given the current fight and the challenges we face, we will all remain focused on accomplishing our assigned missions."
Mattis had recently issued a six-month halt on transgender soldiers in the military as he investigates how they affect -- and fit in with -- other soldiers while in the field. Trump consulted with Mattis about the upcoming ban but did not inform him of the method or timing for the announcement.
"I think generally speaking, it's accepted you consult the secretary of defense before you make a decision that has to do with defending the nation," said Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona. "Mattis was going through a study that they'd done for six months, and he had just extended."
Dru Brenner-Beck, a retired Army judge advocate general, questioned the legality of Trump's ban as well as its ability to be transformed into policy.
"A tweet doesn’t really give you policy,” she said, reports Politico. "How do you implement a tweet? Usually you would have some kind of an actual policy document that comes down."
Roughly 15,000 transgender troops are currently enlisted in the U.S. military.