President Donald Trump has made the executive decision to ban transgenders from serving in the military, reversing a major decision by the Obama administration.
In a tweet series posted Wednesday morning, Trump stated that after serious consultation with military experts, the U.S. cannot allow transgenders to serve in the armed forces because of medical costs and disruption posted by integrating these individuals.
After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow……
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 26, 2017
“….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,” Trump added.
….victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 26, 2017
At the Pentagon, members of the staff of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis appeared to have been caught unaware by Trump’s tweets.
A Pentagon spokesman, Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, declined to answer questions about what Trump’s tweets mean for the current policy, including whether transgender people already serving in the military will be kicked out.
‘‘Call the White House,’’ he said.
The White House press office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Trump’s decision drew immediate angry responses from groups that represent transgender service members.
Matt Thorn, executive director of OutServe-SLDN, which represents the LGBT population in the military, said thousands have been serving in the U.S. armed forces without causing any issues.
‘‘It’s an absolute absurdity and another overstep,’’ Thorn said. He threatened legal action if Wednesday’s decision is not reversed.
Victoria Rodriguez-Roldan, director of the Trans/Gender Non-Conforming Justice Project, National LGBTQ Task Force, said Trump ‘‘has stood against the trans community with this decision and is harming lives for the sake of political gains.’’
‘‘The military is often the last resort for people who can’t find jobs because of discrimination,’’ Rodriguez-Roldan said. She said the transgender community ‘‘will not stop fighting’’ for justice.
Already, there are as many as 250 service members in the process of transitioning to their preferred genders or who have been approved to formally change gender within the Pentagon’s personnel system, according to several defense officials.
The Pentagon has refused to release any data on the number of transgender troops currently serving. A Rand Corp. study estimated that there are between 2,500 and 7,000 transgender service members on active duty and an additional 1,500 to 4,000 in the reserves.
Transgender service members have been able to serve openly in the military since last year, when former Defense Secretary Ash Carter ended the ban. Since Oct. 1, transgender troops have been able to receive medical care and start formally changing their gender identifications in the Pentagon’s personnel system.
Carter also gave the services until July 1 to develop policies to allow people already identifying as transgender to newly join the military. Mattis announced earlier this month that he was giving military chiefs another six months to conduct a review to determine if allowing transgender individuals to enlist in the armed services would affect the ‘‘readiness or lethality’’ of the force.
Key concerns include whether currently enlisted troops have had medical or other issues that cause delays or problems with their ability to deploy or meet physical or other standards for their jobs. Military leaders also wanted to review how transgender troops are treated, if they’re discriminated against or if they have had disciplinary problems, defense officials have said.
They were not authorized to discuss internal deliberations publicly so spoke on condition of anonymity.
As to be expected, progressives shot back with full force:
Here is the reality… Transgender Americans are ALREADY serving in uniform, honorably and effectively.
— Vets Against Trump (@Vets_Vs_Trump) July 26, 2017
Some conservatives and Trump supporters defended the president’s decision:
After 27 years of military service, I am certain our young troops DONT need transgenders in the ranks
— Shane Finders (@ICBMShane) July 26, 2017
I was in the military. I absolutely support this decision by the President. He is totally right. If you disagree, YOU try & serve.
— Nona Covfefe (@nerossister) July 26, 2017
During the 2016 presidential race, Trump called himself a “real friend” of the LGBT community>
Thank you to the LGBT community! I will fight for you while Hillary brings in more people that will threaten your freedoms and beliefs.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 14, 2016
The decision in effect reverses a decision by the Obama administration last year to allow transgenders to serve openly in the military and follows a move by the military to delay integration of new transgender recruits by six months.
During his campaign, Trump emphasized that he would consult with generals to handle the problems of political correctness infesting the military.
Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, called out Trump for apparent inconsistencies with past statements and expressed confidence a ban on transgender troop would go the way of the old ban against gays and lesbians in the military.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, promised to introduce legislation to reverse Trump’s decision.
“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,’” she said in a statement. “This new directive is harmful, misguided, and weakens – not strengthens – our military. I will introduce legislation and will fight to overturn this discriminatory decision.”