Trump: U.S. military won’t allow transgender people ‘to serve in any capacity’ Michael Walsh Reporter •Trump announces transgender ban from U.S. military President Trump announced on Wednesday morning that the U.S. military would not “accept or allow” any transgender service members.In a series of tweets, the commander in chief argued that too much is at stake in the military’s current operations for it to be “burdened” by the medical costs of transgender people or the “disruption” he says transgender service members would cause. FollowDonald J. Trump @realDonaldTrumpAfter consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow…… FollowDonald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump….Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming….. FollowDonald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump….victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you The content of Trump’s statement is at odds with the current Department of Defense policy that was crafted with Armed Services leadership, as well as medical and personnel experts.From the Defense Department website:“Transgender service members may serve openly. They may not be discharged or separated from the military solely on the basis of their gender identity.As with other major presidential announcements from Trump on Twitter, there will likely be extraordinary backlash to this statement from liberal and moderate circles.”When contacted by Yahoo News, a Pentagon spokesperson said, “Right now we are referring all questions on the tweets to the White House.”At the Wednesday afternoon press briefing, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked about how Trump’s policies would affect current transgender service members.“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,” Sanders said.She did not provide any additional information when asked whether troops currently serving overseas in the Middle East would be immediately discharged and sent home.Though Trump’s announcement may feel sudden, there have been rumblings that some officers in the military were not comfortable with the current policy.Earlier this month, for instance, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis announced that there would be a six-month delay in implementing recruitment policies for transgender Americans so that military chiefs could determine how they would affect the force’s “readiness or lethality.”Estimates vary concerning the transgender community’s presence in the military. The National Center for Transgender Equality estimates that more than 15,000 transgender individuals are currently serving in the military. But the RAND Corporation, a global policy think tank, puts the figure between 1,320 to 6,630.According to a RAND study from June 2016, only a subset (between 29 and 129) would pursue treatment related to gender transition each year. The researchers concluded that these treatments would increase health care costs for active-duty service members by $2.4 million and $8.4 million annually — a 0.04- to 0.13-percent increase.On the campaign trail, Trump reached out to the LGBT community and repeatedly promised to protect them from terrorism.As expected, backlash to Trump’s announcement was swift.GLAAD, a prominent LGBTQ advocacy organization, condemned the ban on transgender soldiers as part of “the full-scale attack on LGBTQ Americans by the Trump Administration.”“President Trump today issued a direct attack on transgender Americans, and his administration will stop at nothing to implement its anti-LGBTQ ideology within our government — even if it means denying some of our bravest Americans the right to serve and protect our nation,” Sarah Kate Ellis, the president and CEO of GLAAD, said in a statement. “Today further exposed President Trump’s overall goal to erase LGBTQ Americans from this nation. Trump has never been a friend to LGBTQ Americans, and this action couldn’t make that any more clear.”
PoliticsPentagon officials are not even trying to sound coordinated with Trump on his military transgender ban Alex Lockie,Business Insider 6 hours agoPresident Donald Trump’s announcement on Wednesday morning to „not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military” seems to have come as a shock to defense officials contacted by Business Insider and other outlets.Although Trump announced he had consulted with his top military personnel — apparently including Secretary of Defense James Mattis — on the decision, other Pentagon officials seemed out of the loop.“The tweet was the first we heard about it,” a defense official told the Wall Street Journal.CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr similarly reported that Pentagon officials were initially unaware of the ban.Asked directly for a statement, a Pentagon spokesperson bounced Business Insider back to the White House on all questions about the ban.”We refer all questions about the President’s statements to the White House. We will continue to work closely with the White House to address the new guidance provided by the Commander-in-Chief on transgender individuals serving the military. We will provide revised guidance to the Department in the near future,” the statement read.The ban has already generated considerable backlash and confusion. A report from Politico cites multiple congressional sources as saying Mattis opposed the ban, and may not have been party to the decision.