On Wednesday morning, President Donald Trump announced on Twitter that transgender individuals won’t be allowed to serve in the military in any capacity.
“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,” Trump said in a series of tweets. “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.”
The decision would reverse a policy initiated during the Obama administration that would allow transgender individuals to openly serve in the U.S. military.
Former Defense Secretary Ash Carter ended the ban last year, but gave a year-long review process to determine how to best allow transgender recruits to join the military.
The day before the deadline, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis announced a six-month extension before transgender individuals could enlist in the armed services, saying that military leaders needed more time to review its impact on “readiness and lethality.”
Following Trump’s announcement, Twitter became flooded with responses, both in favor and against what Trump has proposed.
Tomi Lahren, a conservative political commentator, tweeted: “The military is not a social experiment. Finally a POTUS who understands the concept. Political correctness = intellectual dishonesty!”
Comedian and television show host Ellen DeGeneres said: “We should be grateful to the people who wish to serve, not turn our backs on them. Banning transgender people is hurtful, baseless and wrong.”
“[The president] Says Transgender People Will Not Be Allowed in the Military,” retired Gunnery Sgt. Jessie Jane Duff said. “Amen! It’s a combat readiness issue.”
Singer Demi Lovato said: “I just want to tell the transgender community that I love you and you ARE supported no matter what,” adding the hashtag “protect trans troops.”
“[President Trump] lashing out at our brave #transgender troops when you dodged military service is beyond the pale and on the wrong side of history,” said Rep. Jackie Speier, a Democrat from California.
“New York’s [Senator Gillbrand] says she’ll introduce legislation to overturn Trump’s transgender military service ban,” CNN reporter Eric Bradner tweeted.
“This isn’t about transgender military ban. It’s about Trump further humiliating and ostracizing the most vulnerable among us because he can,” writer Molly Knight said.
“I applaud [Donald Trump’s] decision to end the Transgender social experiment in our military. It was always a ridiculous endeavor,” radio host John Cardillo tweeted.
“If you don’t see the transgender ban tweets as a desperate attempt to change the subject…,” political strategist Rick Wilson said.
“As the daughter of a Korean veteran who served in one of the first integrated units, transgender citizens are patriots too. Let them serve,” former interim chairperson of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) Donna Brazile tweeted.
“Send message of SUPPORT for [President Trump’s] decision to not ‘allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity’ in our Military,” law enforcement officer Thomas P. Kennedy III tweeted.
“Transgender Americans are serving honorably in our military. We stand with these patriots,” New York Sen. Chuck Schumer said.
Sen. John McCain, who recently returned to the U.S. Senate after announcing he has brain cancer, released a statement that read:
“The statement was unclear. The Department of Defense has already decided to allow currently-serving transgender individuals to stay in the military, and many are serving honorably today. Any American who meets current medical and readiness standards should be allowed to continue serving. There is no reason to force service members who are able to fight, train, and deploy to leave the military—regardless of their gender identity.”
“The Department of Defense is currently conducting a study on the medical obligations it would incur, the impact on military readiness, and related questions associated with the accession of transgender individuals who are not currently serving in uniform and wish to join the military. I do not believe that any new policy decision is appropriate until that study is complete and thoroughly reviewed by the Secretary of Defense, our military leadership, and the Congress.”