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Trump Tweeted that Transgender People Are No Longer Allowed to Serve in the U.S. Military

UPDATE:

Both the Pentagon and Republican Senator John McCain have issued statements regarding President Trump’s tweets on Wednesday morning. Pentagon spokesperson Jeff Davis wrote, “We refer all questions about the President’s statements to the White House. We will continue to work closely with the White House to address the new guidance provided by the Commander-in-Chief on transgender individuals serving the military. We will provide revised guidance to the Department [of Defense] in the near future.”

“The Department of Defense has already decided to allow currently-serving transgender individuals to stay in the military, and many are serving honorably today,” wrote McCain, who is the Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. “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.” He added that this was “”yet another example of why major policy announcements should not be made via Twitter.”

ORIGINAL STORY:

Trump turned to Twitter (because where else would he share important news?) on Wednesday morning and made the startling announcement that transgender Americans will no longer be allowed to serve in the U.S. Military “in any capacity.” He tweeted, “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.”

Just last summer then-Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announced transgender individuals were welcome to openly serve in the armed forces. In his announcement, he also wrote, “service members may no longer be involuntarily separated, discharged or denied reenlistment solely on the basis of gender identity”—though that no longer seems to be the case. Carter included a year-long delay in his plan to allow the Pentagon to examine it and prepare, but the day before its implementation deadline, Trump-appointed Defense Secretary Jim Mattis approved an additional six-month delay to assess whether the policy decision would affect “the lethality” of America’s military. Now it seems Carter’s plan will not be implemented at all, with Trump citing prohibitive financial burden despite a study commissioned by the Defense Department that projected “minimal likely impact” of transgender healthcare costs.

After Trump already didn’t recognize Pride Month in June and rescinded a law that allowed students to use school bathrooms that corresponded with their gender identity, this latest decision has many speculating that his June 2016 tweet, “Thank you to the LGBT community! I will fight for you while Hillary brings in more people that will threaten your freedoms and beliefs,” was a little less than genuine.

Many across the nation are appalled by this announcement and took to social media to express their outrage and criticize Trump.

Hannah is a senior studying marketing and English at the University of Washington and is the Editor of the UW Her Campus chapter. She was also a Summer 2017 editorial intern for Her Campus Media. When not editing, writing, or pitching articles, she's probably at brunch.
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