Tony Perkins, head of the Christian-based Family Research Council, praised President Donald Trump on July 26 for banning transgender people from serving in the military.
Trump announced the ban on Twitter earlier in the day:
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. 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.
Perkins issued a press release to praise Trump's decision:
I applaud President Trump for keeping his promise to return to military priorities -- and not continue the social experimentation of the Obama era that has crippled our nation’s military. The military can now focus its efforts on preparing to fight and win wars rather than being used to advance the [President Barack] Obama social agenda.
President Trump recognizes what the nation's military leadership and the American people realize, this Obama policy makes no sense.
The last thing we should be doing is diverting billions of dollars from mission-critical training to something as controversial as gender reassignment surgery. However, the cost to readiness, recruitment, retention, morale and cohesion would have been even greater under the Obama policy. As our nation faces serious national security threats, our troops shouldn't be forced to endure hours of transgender ‘sensitivity’ classes and politically-correct distractions like this one.
Now that we are assured that the Defense Department has its fiscal priorities in order, Family Research Council withdraws our opposition to increasing the budget of the Department of Defense through the "Make America Secure Appropriations Act" and looks forward to seeing that legislation pass.
Perkins provided no evidence that the U.S. military was "diverting billions of dollars from mission-critical training" to "gender reassignment surgery." Nor did he provide proof that Obama had "crippled our nation's military."
While Perkins praised Trump, Republican Sen. Jodi Ernst of Iowa, who served in the military, opposed Trump's ban via her spokeswoman, notes Politico:
She believes what is most important is making sure servicemembers can meet the physical training standards, and the willingness to defend our freedoms and way of life. Americans who are qualified and can meet the standards to serve in the military should be afforded that opportunity. She believes taxpayers shouldn't cover the costs associated with a gender reassignment surgery.
Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah also disagreed with Trump's ban, reports The Hill:
I don't think we should be discriminating against anyone. Transgender people are people, and deserve the best we can do for them. I look forward to getting much more information and clarity from our military leaders about the policy the president tweeted today.
Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona expressed his opposition to the ban:
The President’s tweet this morning regarding transgender Americans in the military is yet another example of why major policy announcements should not be made via Twitter.
The statement was unclear. 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.
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.