President Trump said Wednesday that the U.S. military will not accept transgender troops into its ranks or allow them to serve in any capacity, reversing a policy that began under the Obama administration – and triggering intense criticism from lawmakers and civil libertarians.
In a series of morning tweets, Trump said that, after consulting “with my generals and military experts,” the U.S. government “will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military.”
The U.S. military, he said, “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.”
Democrats disagreed. Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, called Trump’s announcement “an unwarranted and disgraceful attack on men and women who have been bravely serving their country.”
U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, ranking member of the Personnel Subcommittee on the Senate Armed Services Committee, today issued the following statement on President Donald J. Trump’s discriminatory decision to ban transgender service members from the U.S. military:
“This morning transgender service members put on their uniform and showed up for their military duties to be told by their Commander in Chief via Twitter that he doesn’t want them in ‘any capacity.’ These service members are willing to die for their country, and this is an insult to their brave and honorable service. This new directive is harmful, misguided, and weakens – not strengthens – our military. I will introduce legislation and will fight to overturn this discriminatory decision.”
It’s unclear how Trump’s tweets will affect the estimated 6,000 transgender troops who are already in the military. Under the policy announced in July 2016, those troops were allowed to serve openly. Prior to that, the military discharged them for medical reasons