“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.” – President Donald J. Trump, 7/26/17
The New York Times reports that
President Trump abruptly announced a ban on transgender people serving in the military on Wednesday, blindsiding his defense secretary and Republican congressional leaders with a snap decision that reversed a year-old policy reviled by social conservatives. Mr. Trump made the surprise declaration on Twitter, saying that American forces could not afford the “tremendous medical costs and disruption” of transgender service members. He said he had consulted generals and military experts, but Jim Mattis, the defense secretary, was given only a day’s notice about the decision.
Mr. Trump elected to announce the ban in order to resolve a quietly brewing fight on Capitol Hill over whether taxpayer money should pay for gender transition and hormone therapy for transgender service members, which had threatened to kill a $790 billion defense and security spending package scheduled for a vote this week.
But rather than addressing that narrow issue, Mr. Trump opted to upend the entire policy on transgender service members, a move that few on Capitol Hill or at the Pentagon expected.
Mr. Trump announced the decision with such haste that the White House could not answer basic inquiries about how it would be carried out, including what would happen to openly transgender people now serving on active duty; of eight defense officials interviewed, none could say.
“That’s something that the Department of Defense and the White House will have to work together as implementation takes place and is done so lawfully,” Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, said.
Still, the announcement thrilled elements of Mr. Trump’s base, who have been dismayed to see the president break so bitterly in recent days with Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a hard-line conservative.
Civil rights and transgender advocacy groups denounced the policy, with some vowing to challenge it in court. Pentagon officials expressed dismay that the president’s tweets, blasted out before they could consider how to make the change, could open them to lawsuits.
The ban would reverse the gradual transformation of the military under President Barack Obama, whose administration announced last year that transgender people could serve openly in the military. Mr. Obama’s defense secretary, Ashton B. Carter, also opened all combat roles to women and appointed the first openly gay Army secretary.
And it represented a stark turnabout from Mr. Trump’s rhetoric during his campaign, when he billed himself as an ally of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.
The president, Ms. Sanders said, had concluded that allowing transgender people to serve openly “erodes military readiness and unit cohesion, and made the decision based on that.”
Mr. Mattis, who was on vacation, was silent on the new policy. People close to the defense secretary said he was appalled that Mr. Trump chose to unveil his decision in tweets, in part because of the message they sent to transgender active-duty service members, including those deployed overseas, that they were suddenly no longer welcome.
The policy would affect only a small portion of the approximately 1.3 million active-duty members of the military. Some 2,000 to 11,000 active-duty troops are transgender, according to a 2016 RAND Corporation study commissioned by the Pentagon, though estimates of the number of transgender service members have varied widely, and are sometimes as high as 15,000.
The study found that allowing transgender people to serve openly in the military would “have minimal impact on readiness and health care costs” for the Pentagon. It estimated that health care costs would rise $2.4 million to $8.4 million a year, representing an infinitesimal 0.04 to 0.13 percent increase in spending. Citing research into other countries that allow transgender people to serve, the study projected “little or no impact on unit cohesion, operational effectiveness or readiness” in the United States.
The announcement came amid the debate on Capitol Hill over the Obama-era practice of requiring the Pentagon to pay for medical treatment related to gender transition. Representative Vicky Hartzler, Republican of Missouri, has proposed an amendment to the spending bill that would bar the Pentagon from spending money on transition surgery or related hormone therapy, and other Republicans have pressed for similar provisions.
Mr. Mattis had worked behind the scenes to keep such language out of legislation, quietly lobbying Republican lawmakers not to attach the prohibitions, according to congressional and defense officials.
But Mr. Trump was concerned that the transgender medical care issue could imperil the security spending measure, which also contains $1.6 billion for the border wall that he has championed, and wanted to resolve the dispute cleanly and straightforwardly, according to a person familiar with his thinking, who insisted on anonymity to describe it. That prompted his ban.
The president’s decision shocked even Republican congressional leaders, who were aware Mr. Trump was looking into whether taxpayer money should be spent on medical procedures for transgender service members, but had not expected him to go so far as to bar transgender people from serving altogether.
Mr. Trump and Republican lawmakers had come under pressure from Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council, a leading Christian conservative group, and an ally of Mr. Trump. Mr. Perkins opposed the bill over spending on transgender medical costs and lobbied lawmakers to do the same.
“Grant repentance to President Trump and Secretary Mattis for even considering to keep this wicked policy in place,” the Family Research Council said in one of its daily prayers last week. “Grant them understanding, courage and willpower to stand up to the forces of darkness that gave birth to it and wholly to repeal it.”
Opponents of allowing openly transgender service members had raised a number of concerns, including what they said was the questionable psychological fitness of those troops and the cost the military would bear for their medical treatment, potentially including gender reassignment procedures. They said the military was being used for social experimentation at the expense of national security.
“This was Ash Carter on his way out the door pulling the pin on a cultural grenade,” Mr. Perkins said on Wednesday. “Our military leaders are saying this doesn’t help make us a better fighting force; it’s a distraction; it’s taking up limited resources.”
Mr. Carter objected to the decision, for its effect on the military and on those considering joining.
“To choose service members on other grounds than military qualifications is social policy and has no place in our military,” he said in a statement. “There are already transgender individuals who are serving capably and honorably. This action would also send the wrong signal to a younger generation thinking about military service.”
While some conservative lawmakers, including Ms. Hartzler, praised Mr. Trump, the president drew bipartisan condemnation on Capitol Hill and outrage from civil rights and transgender advocacy groups.
The majority of Americans do not care what they think.
We want our tax money to be used to assist our military in the job of defending our country and winning wars, not on chopping off someone’s manhood and turning Bruce into “Caitlyn” and vice-versa.
And we do not want our daughters having to share a barracks with a man who wants to be a woman…or claims that he does….or vice-versa.
As a Brother-in-Christ of mine commented on Facebook yesterday,
This is the United States Armed Forces. This isn’t a Country Club.
While Barack Hussein Obama was our Armed Forces Commander in-Chief (Thank God, he isn’t any more), the responsibility for everything that happened to the men and women serving in our armed forces, in which some part of our federal government is involved, both during and after their service, fell on his shoulders and his alone.
Through his treatment of our Heroes as “ancillary” servants to be used for social experimentation and budget cutting, when he wanted to use their money to further his socialization of America, Obama placed our Armed Forces in an untenable situation.
Distinguished American Veteran, Former United States Representative Lt. Col. Allen B. West once wrote the following, concerning Obama’s treatment of our Armed Forces:
Barack Hussein Obama cannot be seen as a Commander-in-Chief and I will never refer to him that way. His fundamental transformation of America means weakening our nation and leaving our Republic less secure. I can just imagine how appreciative and elated his Muslim Brotherhood friends are at this point, to include Turkey’s President Erdogan, as well as the mad mullahs in Iran.
I remember my ex-brother-in-law, Dave. My late step-sister met him at the USO in Memphis during the Vietnam War. David was a Polish Catholic from outside of Detroit, a Navy guy who received his training in the computers of the day, while in service to our country. When he got out, they got married and moved to Dearborn (now Dearbornistan), Michigan, where he got a job with Burroughs. I remember Dave, because he was always good to me, even though I was just a runt kid, 15 years younger than him. I remember him cleaning his service rifle, sitting on the living room floor of our house, and, making sure it was empty, allowing me to to hold it. At the time, I thought that was the coolest thing I had ever done.
I also remember John. John was a friend of my sister’s, who stayed with us, because of problems at home. As I have related before, my folks were the ones whom all my sister’s friends would talk to when they had trouble at home. John was great guy, as well, who wound up enlisting and serving in that “crazy Asian War”, as Kenny Rogers and Mel Tillis once referred to it in song.
I have related before about my own Daddy and my Uncles, and their service in World War II. I have also had friends that served over the years, and one who is still serving in the Air National Guard.
All of these men were/are Patriots. They enlisted out of duty to God and Country.
Our Brightest and Best, who wear the uniform today, are no less dedicated. They deserve to be treated with respect, not as pawns in a game of political expediency, whose rules as followed by the Previous Presidential Administration. included social experimentation, political correctness, and blatant disrespect by the then-Commander-in-Chief himself.
The greatest American President in my lifetime, Ronald Reagan, once said,
Of the four wars in my lifetime, none came about because the U.S. was too strong.
Reagan was a realist. He realized that, as President Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt once advised, the best way to keep America safe, is to “Speak softly and carry a big stick”.
We suffered for 8 long years under a president who spoke like a wuss and carried a feather pillow, a Mexican Flag, and a prayer rug.
And, you wonder why our Best and Brightest always erupt appreciation for their Present Commander-in-Chief, Donald J. Trump?
They are simply happy that they once again have a Commander-in-Chief who appreciates them. And, one who actually has their back for a change.
Until He Comes,