By Solomon Smith, Editor-in-Chief
President Donald Trump once again assaults veterans by announcing on Twitter the exclusion of transgender individuals from the U. S. Military.
The announcement, made via Twitter, was another slap in the face to those who have worn the uniform.
“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”
The Tweets claim that he came to this decision after consultation with his generals, a surprising comment, especially to the Pentagon. CNN reached out to the Pentagon which claimed to have no knowledge of the policy.
After releasing it to the public, the backlash was swift. Navy Capt. Joel Davis, a Department of Defense spokesman, told reporters, “We are now in the process of waiting for that to be formally articulated in a policy memo.”
Some of the strongest comments, however, have been made by some of the leaders of the military. Coast Guard Commandant Paul Zukunft spoke to one of his transitioning members Lt. Taylor Miller. Miller, who was also featured in an article in the Washington Post, was contacted by Zukunft along with the other twelve members of the Coast Guard who are identified as transgender.
“Now if you read that story, Taylor’s family has disowned her.” Says Zukunft. “Her family is the United States Coast Guard and I told Taylor, ‘I will not turn my back.’”
Zukunft said he would not “break faith” with them. The rest of the military has been reserved in their responses.
Marine Gen. Joe Dunford told the chiefs of the military branches and senior enlisted leaders that the military will continue to “treat all of our personnel with respect.”
According to an article by FP, a well-known foreign policy magazine, the tweets may not necessarily be legally binding but as the commander-in-chief it may be within Trumps power to do. The military has chosen to wait for further instruction.
“I know there are questions about yesterday’s announcement on the transgender policy by the President,” Dunford wrote in the internal communication. “There will be no modifications to the current policy until the president’s direction has been received by the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary has issued implementation guidance.”
During his campaign, Trump promised to support the LGBTQ community during the 2016 campaign saying he was the “friend” of the LGBTQ community through his actions as opposed to Hillary Clinton.
In a tweet on June 14, 2016 during his campaign Trump wrote, “Thank you to the LGBTQ community! I will fight for you while Hillary brings in more people that will threaten your freedoms and beliefs.”
In a rare interaction with the press today covering everything from North Korea to the Russian investigation, Trump was asked about the banning of transgender service persons saying, “I have great respect for the transgender community,” adding, “I think I’m doing the military a great favor.”
On Aug. 5, several transgender service members, who remain unnamed, began a suit against the order which has yet to be implemented, according to CNN. They claim that they came out in anticipation of the Obama administration’s order which was still under review but expected to pass.
In the suit the plaintiffs lawyers wrote, “Plaintiffs have served honorably and successfully in the military since coming out as transgender, and their transgender status has not had any detrimental effect on their ability to serve or to fulfill their duties.”
The Department of Defense has yet to respond to the president’s new policy or the suit.