Trump: US military will not 'accept or allow' transgender people

Posted at 9:15 AM, Jul 26, 2017

President Donald Trump says he will not allow transgender people to serve in the United States military.

In a series of tweets on Wednesday morning, Trump said that after consulting with "my generals and military experts," he decided that "The United States government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military."

His reason for not allowing transgender military members is that, "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."

Trump's decision would revoke a policy approved by the U.S. Department of Defense under President Obama, which allowed transgender individuals to serve in the military.

The policy was still under review and first came under fire from Trump's administration in June, when Defense Secretary James Mattis announced he would delay the inclusion of transgender military members, which was scheduled to take effect July 1.

A 2016 Rand Corporation study estimated that anywhere from 1,320 to 6,630 transgender people already serve in the American military. The non-profit research group concluded that allowing openly transgender people to serve would have "minimal impact" due to the fact that there are about 1.3 million people actively serving in the military.

Shortly after Trump's announcement, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) called it "a direct attack on transgender Americans." Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD said, "Today further exposed President Trump’s overall goal to erase LGBTQ Americans from this nation."

In 2013, when the Defense Department decided to lift a ban on women serving in ground combat in the military, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said, "If members of our military can meet the qualifications of the job, then they should have the right to serve, regardless of creed, color, gender or sexual orientation."

Some on Twitter felt Trump's tweets directly contradicted a message he sent to transgender voters during the 2016 election. On June 14, 2016, Trump said, "Thank you to the LGBT community! I will fight for you while Hillary [Clinton] brings in more people that will threaten your freedoms and beliefs."

Clint Davis is a reporter for the Scripps National Desk. Follow him on Twitter @MrClintDavis. Keep up to date with the latest news by following @ScrippsNational on Twitter.